30 Engineering Nightmares Just One Company Has Discovered During Inspections

Being a structural engineer seems like it would be a tough job. Sure, most of the buildings you inspect will probably be normal. But some of them are... well, let's just say it's good someone caught them before they fell down.

The engineering company Alpha Structural in Los Angeles does a lot of inspections. And they tend to find some pretty nightmarish structural flaws. Here are just some of the ones they find on a weekly basis.

"Here's some rot damage on wooden supports underneath the home. Old, leaky pipes and old wooden supports don't go well together."

Just the idea that people walk on the floor above these supports... that they put furniture on them... that's enough to make me shudder. It looks like it's just about ready to fall apart.

"I guess they wanted an open floor plan? They took the brick wall separating the two rooms down. No permits, no contractor, just a man and his trusty hammer."

I bet you anything that whoever did this didn't bother to check if the wall was load-bearing first. Because why do things by the book when you can just knock down walls, no questions asked?

"As you can see by the many cracks in the wall and the wall bowing out, this retaining wall has begun to fail. It can no longer hold the earth behind it securely."

Just looking at this is stressing me out. It looks like it could go at any second, which is probably scarier than any horror movie I've ever seen.

"There appears to be a cave system leading down underneath this home's foundation."

I can't hear the words "cave system" without wondering what could be down there. Mole people? People people? Giant bugs? Normal underground things? My imagination is running wild, and not in the good way.

"Make sure to hold the rai... irrigation pipe on the way down."

Sometimes, a thing being able to do two things is good. But usually when it's a bench that doubles as storage, not a pipe that doubles as a stair railing. This is just... concerning, to say the least.

"Free-floating girders are always a fun discovery."

In other words, this house is basically being held up by a prayer. I don't know about you, but that's not my ideal situation. I'd much rather, you know, actual posts keeping my home afloat.

"A soils engineer came out to this property and said they needed to take a core sample of the concrete slab and the soil below. They did not account for the machinery that was needed and were unable to take the actual core sample."

They then proceeded to... just leave the floor like that? Interesting choice. Probably wouldn't be calling that soils engineer back to finish the job.

"Here's a concrete pier sitting on the edge of an excavated area. Looks like it's almost ready to fall."

I can't really get a good look at this one. Not because the picture is bad, but because there are so many tears in my eyes I can't see clearly. Maybe it's for the better if I don't look, anyway.

"A flight of stairs that goes directly to the hospital!"

Could you imagine making the conscious decision to climb these stairs? Like, thinking, "sure, this staircase seems safe!"?

It's just baffling to me that anyone would actively leave them as-is, and not bother to block them off or anything.

"I guess the original builder of this property chose the ancient Roman vibe for this foundation."

I guess as far as bad structures go, this could be a lot worse. But it's still bad. Do you think the original builder thought anyone would ever see the strange, Classical column they decided to put down there?

"Anyone want to step foot on this balcony?"

I absolutely would not want to step foot on this balcony... or any balcony from now on, for that matter.

I'm so mad. This picture has single-handedly ruined balconies for me for the rest of my life. Can't take any chances anymore.

"Netting and garden lattice - the best kind of hillside protection!"

Yeah that's... not going to hold forever. The fact that the entire hillside hasn't come tumbling down yet is kind of a miracle. It makes me really glad this isn't my house.

"This garage door header has seen some better days!"

What has to happen for your garage door to bow like this? Bad construction? Poor upkeep? Some combination of both? Because, like, that doesn't look like the kind of garage people should keep using.

"This concrete patio is sitting on a retaining wall that has been pushed outward due to what is known as a surcharge, or hydrostatic pressure build-up."

"Hollow areas formed under the patio, causing the cracking and further sinking of the patio from the roof load above."

Uhh, tell me why just looking at this patio made my life flash before my eyes. Is it even salvageable?

"What happens when you don't use steel rebar to reinforce your concrete masonry wall? This."

I may not know a thing about how to build a house, but even I could tell you that you're supposed to use rebars. At least this is just an outer wall, and not part of the actual building (though it could be just as bad in there, too).

"If you're ever concerned about your slab foundation being cracked, look out for this."

I'm pretty sure that if I ever happened to find a huge crack in my floor, I'd just move. Wouldn't even bother putting the house up for sale. I'd just get out of there before the house took me with it.

"A fellow contractor came across this bed and sitting area in a crawlspace, with a name and "age 9" etched into the door..."

Was... was this once a kid's room? If so, then it was like a Harry Potter situation but way, way worse. Because no kid could ever sleep here without having constant nightmares.

"This is the mini sitting area right in front of the bed."

It just gets weirder and weirder. Creepier and creepier. Who would bother putting such an odd room in a crawlspace? Because I can tell you right now I'd never be using it (I wouldn't even put a bid in for the house).

"I don't know about you but I would want to park the furthest away from this wall..."

Given the choice between parking next to that wall and parking anywhere else in the garage... I'd probably just chance street parking. It literally couldn't be worse than leaving your car in this disaster waiting to happen.

"These balconies have seen better days. As you can see, the wood framing of these balconies is experiencing some deflection."

Oh my god? Oh my god. The angle that top balcony is sagging at is giving me heart palpitations. I sincerely hope they evacuated this building because that would be absolutely disastrous if it fell, which it looks like it might any second.

"This is a retaining wall holding up a deck system and a portion of the actual home. I guess a good ol' strap and fill wasn't the correct repair method."

This looks like the construction equivalent of putting a bandaid over a stab wound.

At this point, it's just time to let go. Get the wall replaced. Out with the old (that's about to collapse), in with the new (that won't collapse).

"This owner had undermined almost the entirety of his home by digging underneath the slab and excavating around the piles."

"There had been a minor mudslide and they decided it would be a good idea to create more space underneath..."

Huh?! In what world does that idea make any sense? Are they hoping that if they remove enough supports, the house will teach itself how to fly and be unaffected by future mudslides?

"This masonry wall supported the back half of the home, as well as a deck in the back. Tons of moisture and hillside erosion caused the wall to lose its grip on the hillside and rest of the structure."

Obviously, I know that things degrade over time, it's still kind of frightening knowing that all that caused this was rain and some dirt moving around. Maybe that's oversimplifying it, but it still leaves me feeling uneasy!

"Part of your retaining wall/house seems to be missing, sir."

Wait, what? What even happened here? The wall looks evenly severed, did the owner just decide they liked the natural rock face and want to open it up? Maybe they wanted to be the unique ones on the block? It's not worth the structural integrity.

"One more heavy rain and this bad boy just might give way."

This is a pretty severe joint, which means when it finally goes down, it'd probably be so satisfying to watch. Definitely not the point and not good for anyone else should that happen, but that initial snap would be so good!

"Somebody was preparing for the zombie apocalypse or something!"

It was never mentioned if there was anything on the other side, but what would even need to be secured on the bottom half of a door with that many nails? I like to think whoever did this was just mad and needed to blow off some steam.

"This is a large landslide that happened in the back of a home in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles County."

Imagine you're happily swimming away in your pool, then suddenly the ground gives out and now your pool is an extra-large toboggan sliding down a hill of dirt.

That's probably a too-fun way to describe a natural disaster, actually.

"[...] our crew took off the bottom portion of stucco on this column to expose the column connections. This is, quite literally, what we discovered. There was nothing supporting the unit above."

This is a nightmare! This is a literal nightmare! They explained that this was a column in an apartment building. Do you know who lives in an apartment building? Me! This could be happening in my building and I wouldn't even know it! Awful!

"The entire outside perimeter hardscape of this home was sinking almost a foot and was pulling away from the rest of the structure. Pretty gnarly!"

Hopefully that won't damage the house itself. Still, that's got to be one of the worst things a homeowner would ever have to deal with. It gives off really dangerous energy.

"Here is a leaning retaining wall that is breaking away from a garage structure. Notice the large wooden beam that is wedged in there to help hold the wall back."

I'd rather trudge through the brush on the far right, away from that wall, than even risk touching those stairs. My luck is just bad enough that even if I sprinted I'd be the one to cause the collapse.

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