This house has some big problems with erosion on the hillside, and we want to stop it before it threatens the foundation of the house. To do that we’re going to have to build a major new retaining wall.
So the building permits for a hillside retaining wall we’ve been waiting for have been approved, the crew has prepped the hillside and the Bobcat tractor just showed up. Now the fun begins. Any construction on a hillside is a challenge, but in this instance it gets into the danger zone.
You see, when they originally build this house on the hillside, they simply dug into the side of the hill till they created a flat spot big enough for the house. To get rid of the dirt, they just pushed it over the downward side of the hill, and it became part of the hillside. Now that’s a heck of a lot of dirt, and the reason we know this is when the soil engineers come to do their test, they found 8 feet of soft soil (the soil shaved off the hillside) before they hit bedrock.
The problem with this is we have to set the main pillars of the retaining wall into 8 feet of bedrock to meet the building safety code (these pillars will be the back bone of the retaining wall).
That means we need to dig holes along the hill over 16 feet deep for the retaining wall (8 feet though the soft stuff and 8 feet through the bedrock). And to do this we need to get a drilling rig in. Now you see why we’re here with the Bobcat creating a new small road on the hillside, it’s so the drilling rig will have a way to get in, set up and do it’s job.
This is the nerve racking part of the job, cause it’s dangerous. The Bobcat has to work on the hillside, in soft soil cutting a small road out of the hillside. The good news is the soil is easy to remove, the bad news is it’s so soft and unstable. The Bobcat operator has the tedious job of removing some dirt, then placing on the side of the hill, then rolling over it to compact and level it, then repeating. The trick here is to get the road he’s creating as compacted and level as possible for the drilling rig, this means driving close to the edge time and time again to compact and level the dirt. All the time avoiding getting to close to the edge, having the soft soil give, losing control and tumbling down the hill.
It’s going to be a long day. But this guy on the Bobcat is good, he really knows what he’s doing and the whole crew starts to relax a bit. Within a couple of days we should have a stable area for the drilling rig to work.
This soft soil and the rotting wooden retaining wall is why the erosion was happening in the first place. All that dirt that was pushed over the side was never compacted and still after decades very soft. But this new retaining wall we’re putting in will solve all those problems and insure the safety of the house.
Stay tuned to see the drilling rig go to work. The Crew at Aim Higher Construction, General Contractors in Los Angeles.