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Anyone ever build a shop into a hillside?

 
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Old 06-29-2016, 08:42 PM
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Anyone ever build a shop into a hillside?

Guys,

I'm buying a house on a piece of property that is mostly hillside. Of course I eventually want to build a shop so I'm wondering about the nuances of building a shop into a hillside and essentially having the lower level use the hillside up against a retaining wall. The second floor would be accessible, and able to take cars from the other direction- driving out toward the hill itself. I was at a shop like that once, but it was massive and had 20 Lincolns on each level.

Well, what do you know. I googled "Jack Passey Shop" and here's a pic of the shop I saw. My main concerns are being about 5 miles from the epicenter of the 89 quake and ensuring it's structurally sound, even if the hillside is soaked with water.

Oh, and I'd want to store about 6 cars and some tools, not FORTY LINCOLNS like Jack had in his.

 
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Old 06-30-2016, 07:04 AM
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we did this at my buddys farm many years ago. but we don't have many quakes here in joisey, and the ones we do have are mini shakers, not earth movers.
2 cars and a small workshop downstairs, 4 car spots upstairs.
we just dug into the hill, and poured a reinforced preform concrete wall. put drain pipe along the footings, and back filled with clean stone.
braced up the roof/floor, and poured 8 inches of reinforced concrete.
2 months later removed the bracing and stick built the second level.
 
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Old 06-30-2016, 06:36 PM
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Hire an Architect / Engineer and make sure he knows all the latest codes relating to construction in a seismically active area. You're talking about a multi story structure able to support the weight of several vehicles on the second floor. Should make for some interesting foundation work. Have you ever seen what happens to water soaked earth when it gets shaken in even a minor quake? Think quicksand!
Oh, and buy lots of insurance coverage!
 
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Old 06-30-2016, 07:52 PM
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Thanks guys! Yep, it'd be up to code for sure. I'm thinking it'll cost me a couple hundred grand to do it right.

I've never "seen" liquefaction, but I've read all about it.

FWIW here are some pics of the property. It's all hillside but you can see there is a flat parking area carved into the hill below the house. That's where I'd build the shop, with second story access just below the deck on the main house.










 
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Old 07-02-2016, 02:18 PM
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Yes, in my younger days working for the family (construction business in Lake Arrowhead)....homes, businesses, garages......pretty much the standard. Definitely need an experienced contractor...specific to this.....engineers/architects, well, there are usually things in the drawings that don't always work/not the best. excavator 7 concrete subs are critical for ensuring they know the terrain and making sure the footings/foundation are straight/level. I would use local contractors if at all possible as knowing the geography well & the history means every bit of long term success.

Key points.....IMHo, I would not rely on retaining walls to protect the rear of the structure, but rely on steel reinforced concrete walls, backfilled directly up against, sealed (water-proofed) with "French drains" to redirect water flow/run-off and address possible known/unknown underground streams which are very common.
 
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Old 07-02-2016, 03:48 PM
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not sure, but in the second pic it looks like "ledge" or bedrock on top near the house. if that is the fact, all the better because that would be a solid anchor point that you will not have to worry about washout from mudslides.
that also looks like it is about 20 foot or so between levels, which is kind of high. but it would be perfect for putting a lift in the lower level.
 
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Old 07-02-2016, 05:21 PM
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Since you already estimate that it will cost a "couple of hundred grand" to do it right the advantage to using the services of a licensed A/E is that he signs the plans with his license number. Later, if things start shaking and sliding and you should have to put in an insurance claim that license number will go a long way in refuting an insurance company claim that something wasn't designed and constructed properly.
Believe me - I know. Been there - done that!
 
 
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