Skies over California have been anything but sunny this past year which has led to several landslides affecting homes and businesses. Residents scramble to find someplace to go as they watch, their yards and, if they don’t act fast, their homes, go over the side of a cliff.

Baldry Brothers Drilling, a general contractor from Santa Rosa, California, spends about 40 percent of its time on slide repair work. They have extensive experience in the repair of landslides ranging in size from very small localized slope failures to large landslides involving multiple properties and residences. Over the past 20 years, they have worked closely with Engineered Soil Repairs, Inc. (ESR), of Walnut Creek, California who specialize in the repair of landslides in the Bay Area.

In June 2017, Baldry was contacted by ESR for a project to repair a home that was about to fall off a cliff in Lafayette, California, in the East Bay. The backyard had already disappeared over the side and the house had been red-tagged as uninhabitable. The foundation was undetermined by the landslide in the backyard. The owners had been in the house since 1968 but when their backyard gave way after the storms in February, they moved out of the 2,400 square foot home.

Baldry had a tight time schedule to meet to limit further damage by the shifting soils. They’ve had a LoDril LM (renamed to DH20) in their fleet they have used for retention wall projects because of its limited access capabilities. The LoDril has a proven track record drilling up to sensitive structures and buildings in unfriendly conditions such as on slopes and on uneven or rough terrain.

Baldry went to work in to stabilize the foundation and limit the slide on the property. They cut a temporary access road in the back of the house so construction equipment could enter and work safely in the area.

Excavating was done in small stages while installing lagging to restrain the soil. Vertical H-piles were installed into the drilled holes. Excavation was dug at 4’ lifts from the top down. The soldier pile encasement concrete pour was done as each soldier pile was placed to secure it in its proper position. The remaining portion of the shaft excavation was backfilled with material from the site.

The project was completed on schedule. Soldier piles are fast to construct and less expensive when compared to other systems, and adjustments can be made in the field easily to accommodate changes that surface on the job making them ideal for home retention projects such as this one.

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