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Case Studies Chula Vista Apartments Saved From Dangerous Settlement

Chula Vista Apartments Saved From Dangerous Settlement

Chula Vista, California

Ram Jack Pacific was called to Villa Granada Apartmentsin Chula Vista, California. This spacious, double-story, garden apartment complex comprises twelve (12) two-story buildings that were developed and built in the early 1970s. All structures were designed with decks above the entry points, with a walkable corridor.


Regrettably, the original contractor failed to install a 24 in. by 24 in. by 26 in. deep footing as the plan had specified and instead used a thickened edge for the concrete walkway. The combination of poor soil conditions, insufficient footings, excess watering, and poor drainage resulted in the supporting columns settling at 123 different locations throughout the complex over the past few decades. This settlement caused various cracks and trip hazards throughout tenant walkways. This pressing issue called for immediate rectification.


Ram Jack first met the team from Degenkolb Engineers at an event several years before. They reached out to Ram Jack for the project, introduced them to the owner, who then immediately determined that they had made the right choice. During Ram Jack’s first onsite-meet with Degenkolb and Pacific Coast Land Consulting, they excavated several preliminary locations to analyze the type of footing they were dealing with. The team swiftly realized that there was more of a thickened edge than actual footing. They quickly realized the need for helical piles and a new construction cap, a minimally-invasive technique that would allow them to reach load-bearing soil. This would need to be tied to the columns to combat time-induced sinking, heaving, and rolling. During the planning phase, Ram Jack determined the need to shore the columns while working. This was important to prevent additional settlement and preserve tenant safety. Seeing as the landscape was already flawlessly manicured, they could use small, lightweight excavators for the footings and installation of the Ram Jack helical piles.


Parking restrictions meant work couldn’t be done on all buildings simultaneously, forcing the project to be split into four phases. During the final phase, it was noticed that the 8 in. sewer main was situated exactly where the piles needed to be, meaning the footing would need to be enlarged - among other various changes. Even with these delays, the tenacious Ram Jack crew finished two weeks ahead of schedule in this short 4-week project.

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