Diamond Certified Company Report

Alameda Structural, Inc.

Diamond Certified Company Report

Alameda Structural, Inc.

Diamond certified ratings dashboard
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION i
Customer LOYALTY i
Helpful Expertise i
Company Credentials i
  • Workers Compensation
  • Liability Insurance
  • License Verification
  • Business Practices
  • Current Complaint File
  • Legal & Finance
Phone SURVEY RESPONSES FROM 324 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i

Sumona M.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

1 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would recommend them.

They are very professional.

Dan B.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

2 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They might not be the lowest in price but they are very sharp, and their staff is very competent.

Their foreman on site was a really great guy.

Christine S.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

3 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I recommended them to many people and I told them I was very pleased with the price, I expected it to be more. They did a lot of things in a timely manner, and I really liked the work that was done.

I really liked that they explained to me everything in detail. They told me the steps they were going to take, what they were going to do and why they were going to do it, so I really understood everything that was being done.

Read All 324 Survey Responses at Ratings View
Diamond certified VIDEO PROFILE
Diamond certified company PROFILE

President George Walton with his wife, Rebecca

Alameda Structural, Inc. provides foundation, structural, and seismic retrofitting services for residential and light commercial clients throughout the Bay Area. The company works on 110 to 130 projects each year, and every job features an onsite team leader that manages the entire process from start to finish.

Experience and professionalism are important to Alameda Structural. Owner George Walton has been involved in the construction trade since age 11 and has worked in the foundation industry since 1984. Alameda Structural’s team members have an average of 12 years’ experience with the firm, and new employees start at the bottom and work their way to becoming project managers, learning every aspect of the company’s operations in the process.

For the convenience of its clients, Alameda Structural works year-round and doesn’t require retainers, down payments or deposits. For most jobs, no money is owed until the project is finished. For larger jobs, installment payments can be made as work is completed. Mr. Walton invites potential customers to visit the company’s website, www.alamedastructural.com, to view extensive references and photo galleries.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED CAPABILITIES ON Alameda Structural, Inc.

COMPANY CONTACT
Service AREA

Berkeley
Oakland
Piedmont
Albany
Alameda
El Cerrito
San Leandro
Castro Valley

SERVICES PERFORMED

Foundation Repair & Replacement
Engineered Structural Repair
Seismic Retrofitting
Water Management
Soft Story Retrofits
Basements

DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED ARTICLES ON Alameda Structural, Inc.

Alameda Structural recently completed this basement project.

Company Profile

Alameda Structural, Inc. provides foundation, structural, and seismic retrofitting services for residential and light commercial clients throughout the Bay Area. The company works on 110 to 130 projects each year, and every job features an onsite team leader that manages the entire process from start to finish.

Experience and professionalism are important to Alameda Structural. Owner George Walton has been involved in the construction trade since age 11 and has worked in the foundation industry since 1984. Alameda Structural’s team members have an average of 12 years’ experience with the firm, and new employees start at the bottom and work their way to becoming project managers, learning every aspect of the company’s operations in the process.

For the convenience of its clients, Alameda Structural works year-round and doesn’t require retainers, down payments or deposits. For most jobs, no money is owed until the project is finished. For larger jobs, installment payments can be made as work is completed. Mr. Walton invites potential customers to visit the company’s website, www.alamedastructural.com, to view extensive references and photo galleries.

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Company Philosophy

“We listen to our clients and adjust our operations based on their experiences. At the end of every job, we ask for customer feedback. We want to know what we did well and what we need to work on. If clients are happy, we’ve done our job and will enjoy the related success. If they’re not happy, we’ll adjust our practices to fix any problems.”

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Comparative Summary

Alameda Structural, Inc. does one type of contracting exclusively–foundations and related structural repair and seismic retrofitting. “This is all we do,” confirms owner George Walton, who has been working in the foundation industry since 1984. “We’re here to replace your foundation, not remodel your bathroom.”

Professionalism is important to Alameda Structural, and it starts with its team, who average 12 years’ experience with the company. New team members start at the entry level and learn every aspect of the company’s operations, eventually working their way up to becoming project managers. Alameda Structural doesn’t rely on less-expensive day laborers–a rare thing in the current economy, says Mr. Walton. This ensures everyone on the team knows the job and can work fast, efficiently and safely.

Maintaining schedules is also a key factor to Alameda Structural’s reputation. “We’re there every day,” says Mr. Walton. “The rain doesn’t stop us–we put up tarps. When it’s not raining, we’re outside; when it’s raining, we’re under the house.” The company’s drive to keep to its schedules ensures work doesn’t drag out, which can cost clients more money.

In addition to its timeliness, Alameda Structural works diligently to deliver within budget, says Mr. Walton. “It’s rare for us to receive more money than what we bid. It’s one thing if a customer asks us to do additional work, but if we encounter problems, we don’t add to the bill. We dig a lot, and it’s somewhat of a guessing game in regards to what kind of soil we encounter. We’ve had boulders and basalt-type rock, and sometimes we’ve had to use dynamite, but we rarely ask for more money in those situations.” And for jobs of less than $50,000, no bills go out until all work is completed.

Organization, planning, and methodical work are the final elements in Alameda Structural’s strategy for success, says Mr. Walton. Its crews proceed through jobs step-by-step, ensuring each task is performed correctly and cleaning sites at the end of each day.

“Our reputation is important to us,” says Mr. Walton. “We have 32 pages of referrals–more than 1,400 past and present clients. When a potential customer calls any one of them, they get the same response: ‘Don’t use anyone else.'” Alameda Structural also provides clients with a list of jobs in progress. “They can go right to a jobsite, knock on the door and ask, ‘What do you think of the contractor?’ And they’ll get the same response every time. We’re not hit or miss. Every job is a success story.”

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Industry Info

A home’s foundation is crucial to its longevity, so when planning a repair, hire an established contractor whose primary focus is foundation work. To the untrained eye, foundation work may look like unskilled labor—a lot of digging and moving earth. But it’s actually a specialized field, requiring significant experience and expertise to perform correctly. Quite literally, the entire value of a home rests on its foundation, and it’s not work you want done by just anyone.

Most people might find it hard to evaluate a foundation contractor. Most of the work is hidden out of sight, and even if it’s visible, few have the expertise to evaluate its quality. But there are easily discovered and evaluated factors that are reliable indicators of whether a contractor is likely to do quality work.

“The first thing to look for in a contractor is whether they’re on time for a bid,” advises George Walton, owner of Alameda Structural, Inc. “It’s like a job interview. If you don’t show up on time, you probably won’t get the job. It’s the same with contractors. If they’re late for a bid, they’re probably going to be late in completing the job.”

While foundation work and seismic retrofitting require expertise, they don’t necessarily require engineering experience. In fact, says Mr. Walton, most residential foundation jobs generally don’t require engineered plans, like two-story buildings on relatively flat ground and retaining walls of less than 30 inches. A contracting firm doesn’t need to have engineers on staff, but it should have long-term relationships with several consulting engineers for jobs that require engineering work. Using an independent engineer instead of a contractor’s employee provides a disinterested professional opinion upon which a homeowner can rely.

Mr. Walton also stresses the importance of referrals, advising homeowners to ask for the last 10 jobs a contractor has completed—not just the last 10 successful ones. Call them and ask if the contractor showed up every day. Did they keep the jobsite clean and safe? Were they polite and considerate to the neighbors? These are all indirect ways to assess workmanship and gauge how prideful the company and its employees are of their work.

The final thing to look for, says Mr. Walton, is organization. Does the contractor write down the necessary details as they’re revealed? Is his paperwork organized? Does he use checklists? These are indicators that the contractor will be able to deliver the job on time and within budget.

Finally, Mr. Walton advises against hiring any contractor who asks for money up front. “That’s a red flag,” he says. “If the first thing they want is 10 to 20 percent upfront, you should consider taking your business elsewhere. They’re taking money to pay for past mistakes.” A reputable contractor only invoices for work that’s been completed or materials that have been purchased.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do you keep a clean worksite?

A: Yes. At any given time, we have about four jobs in progress. We invite our potential customers to visit all these sites and see exactly how clean we work.

Q: What hours do you work?

A: We work from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. We can, however, adjust the schedule if it’s more convenient for a client.

Q: Can I live in my house while it’s being worked on?

A: Yes. Most of the houses we work on are occupied. We cover any holes or trenches with plywood for safety.

Q: Do you have to move a house to do foundation work?

A: Sometimes the scope of a job will call for us to move a house’s location, but for general foundation work or seismic retrofitting, it’s not necessary. We take the weight off the old foundation while work is in progress, but we don’t actually lift or move the house.

Q: Do you have insurance?

A: Yes, we carry $2 million in liability insurance. When we need to subcontract to a shoring company, we use one with earthquake insurance. And all our employees are covered by workers’ compensation.

Q: Do you do seismic retrofitting?

A: Yes, we do quite a bit, and we consider ourselves retrofit experts. There are 20 or 30 engineers who use us as their top referral.

Q: Do you have engineers on staff?

A: Not on staff, but we consistently rely on four or five engineers who work with us when needed—a soils engineer, a civil engineer and a couple of structural engineers. Because of our long-term relationships, they come when we call, and there’s no downtime waiting for an engineer’s assessment.

Q: Do you do inspections for real estate transactions? What do those entail?

A: Yes. We look for any problems or issues with the foundation and assess the life left in it, but this can entail a lot of things. First, we look at the site conditions. Is the house in a slide zone, like the Berkeley hills? We examine the age of the house and determine if it’s level. We look for settlement, drainage and seismic issues. Older foundations are often in a state of deterioration. The concrete gets softer and may not have been built deep enough, so it’s in danger in case of an earthquake. We take all of these factors into account and provide an assessment on the foundation’s condition so buyers can make an informed decision.

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SELECTED PHOTOS FROM Alameda Structural, Inc.

DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTOR ADVICE & TIPS FROM George Walton

Expert CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE
  • George Walton is president of Alameda Structural, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2008. He can be reached at (510) 371-5956 or by email.

George Walton: A Structural Inclination

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ALAMEDA — The son of a general contractor, George Walton was basically raised in the construction industry, where, over time, he found himself inclined toward a particular aspect. “I started building houses with my dad when I was 12 years old and I’ve been doing construction ever since,” he recaps. “I was always drawn to structural work in particular. It’s very challenging, which appealed to me, and there’s less paperwork. In 1984, I started my own residential structural repair company. Five years later, in the wake of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, I decided to focus primarily on foundations and seismic retrofitting, and that continues to be my focus today.”

As owner of Alameda Structural, Inc., George says his favorite part of his job is wowing his customers. “We do very difficult projects, but since we have so much experience, we’re able to do them with ease. We’re so good at what we do that people are absolutely amazed at the end product, but for us, it’s just another day at the office.”

A resident of Alameda (where he lives with his wife, Rebecca), George spends his time outside of work relaxing and spending time with his family. “I have six daughters and eight grandchildren,” he details. “My grandsons all play baseball, football and basketball, so if I’m not taking them to a professional sporting event, I’m usually attending one of theirs.” In addition to hanging out with family, George enjoys regular getaway trips to the East Coast. “We spend a week out of every month at our place in Florida. To me, it’s paradise over there and a great place to recharge my batteries.”

In his life and career, George espouses the importance of honesty. “If you aren’t honest with yourself and those around you, things aren’t going to work out well for you,” he cautions. “It’s true what they say, what goes around comes around. I can honestly say I’ve never intentionally deceived any of our clients or vendors, and because of that, I’ve had riches all my life.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: My grandson’s basketball team.

Q: Did you play any sports in high school?
A: I played football and wrestled.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Kincaid’s in Oakland.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: Pecan pie.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Orchids.

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Expert articles
  • The Importance of a Pre-Purchase Soils Report

    ALAMEDA — When buying a home in the Berkeley Hills, one important step is having a soils report performed by a geotechnical engineer. Why? Because if the home needs foundation work, you’ll need to know what type of soil it’s sitting on.

    I’ve seen many instances in this area where foundation repairs were improperly engineered because no one had performed a soils report. This can lead to dire consequences—in fact, a foundation repair that’s incorrectly performed can result in a worse situation than what the home was previously in. For example, drilling a pier in the side of a hill that’s composed of landslide material can encourage a landslide to occur. Likewise, drilling a pier in the wrong kind of soil material can drag the house down rather than stabilize it. Either of these situations (and the expensive repairs that go along with them) can be easily avoided by simply getting a soils report beforehand.

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Expert video tip
  • Video: Pre-Purchase Soils Reports

    Complete Video Transcription:

    ALAMEDA — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re planning to buy a hillside property, one thing you’ll want to invest in is a professional soils report. Today we’re in Alameda with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor George Walton of Alameda Structural to learn why.

    Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, George Walton: The tip for today from me will be that if you are purchasing a home in the Oakland and Berkeley Hills, that you, under all circumstances, in every instance, you have to have a soils report by a geotech engineer – someone that can tell you the soil of your house, or potential house or potential house, will be setting in.

    I’ve had so many projects in the Berkeley and Oakland Hills where the wrong foundation repair was engineered, because no one had a soils report.  So, please, if you are purchasing property in the Oakland or Berkeley Hills in all instances, have a soils report, and any kind of repair work that’s done to your house will have to be done pursuant to recommendations listed in the soils report. Thank you.

    Host, Sarah Rutan: To learn more from local, top rated companies, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.

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Alameda Structural, Inc. WEBSITE AND EXTERNAL FEED
Diamond Certified RATINGS ON Alameda Structural, Inc.
Diamond certified ratings dashboard
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION i
Customer LOYALTY i
Helpful Expertise i

Each surveyed customer was asked, “If you needed any helpful expertise, did this company provide that expertise?” To calculate this score, total “Yes” responses were divided by total responses (excluding those that stated they hadn’t needed any expertise).

Company Credentials i
  • Workers Compensation
  • Liability Insurance
  • License Verification
  • Business Practices
  • Current Complaint File
  • Legal & Finance
Phone SURVEY RESPONSES FROM 324 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i
Alameda Structural, Inc. : Average 9.3 out of 10 based on 324 unique customer surveys of customer satisfaction.

Sumona M.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

1 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would recommend them.

They are very professional.

Dan B.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

2 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They might not be the lowest in price but they are very sharp, and their staff is very competent.

Their foreman on site was a really great guy.

Christine S.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

3 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I recommended them to many people and I told them I was very pleased with the price, I expected it to be more. They did a lot of things in a timely manner, and I really liked the work that was done.

I really liked that they explained to me everything in detail. They told me the steps they were going to take, what they were going to do and why they were going to do it, so I really understood everything that was being done.

Robert H.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

4 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would recommend them.

I liked their prices, the service is excellent, they did the job on time, and they did everything for the price they quoted.

Ulla S.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

5 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

That the quality is excellent, they did extra things for water proofing that we did not see other contractors who offered that.

It cost exactly what they said it would and it took as long as they said they would.

Robert P.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

6 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They are very reliable and hard workers.

They seemed very reliable, they were here on time everyday and they did a good job.

Mike C.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

7 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

If you want the job done right, they are professionals and they should go to them.

They did the job professionally.

Dan P.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

8 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very professional and they did a great job.

Everything they said happened, the estimate was good, they were here on time, they are honest and we had a great relationship.

A. L.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

9 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

That they were responsive, they finished ahead of schedule and their bid was fair.

The comprehensive nature of the work

Jon R.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

10 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They are absolute professionals.

I had a very complex and challenging problem and only Alameda Structural was able to do it.

Laura A.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

11 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

The quality of the work was great, the crew was great, the communication throughout the process was great, they were on time, they delivered and they went above an beyond for us.

I would just say the communication.

Pastor J.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

12 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I thought they did a really great job.

They were competent, efficient, on time, and kind of top quality.

Joanne K.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

13 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They are experienced, competent and well priced.

They showed up on schedule and delivered the job just as they said.

Susan L.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

14 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

George Walton is the best contractor I have ever done work with. He is honest, efficient, and he knows what he is doing. The crew is respectful of people's property. The whole team is neat and clean. They work rain or shine and if you need them to work six days a week, they will. The product delivered was A+.

Punctuality, ease of returning calls and emails, efficiency, honesty, and they really know what they are doing.

Meghan M.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

15 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were wonderful to work with. They were there for four weeks and they were able to notice little things. They helped me out of my car with my newborn baby. They were just polite.

They did a good job. They started and finished when they said they would. They were a pleasure to have at the house.

Jay R.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

16 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were on time, they stuck to the schedule, they did exactly what they said, and they stuck to the price. I even hired one of the guys to fix something else after I broke the floor accidently. The whole team is great.

Very good customer service, you call them, and they are prompt. He showed up when he said he would for the quote, and he gave me a price. He emailed me right away with updates when there was a delay, so there was very good communication overall.

Jean W.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

17 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They are very dependable, very thorough, and they do excellent work. I have never worked with a company that good.

I can depend on them, and the workmanship is excellent.

Joanna C.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

18 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were really easy to work with. I worked with them on a project that the city of San Leandro had. They did all the work for me, and they made it painless. I didn't have to do anything.

The fact that they were easy to work with

Charlotte B.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

19 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They made it a terrific experience. They do great work, and they are accessible for questions. They are punctual and neat.

They just did a real great job, and now when it rains, I don't fear that my basement will flood.

Addison C.

VERIFIED Alameda Structural, Inc. CUSTOMER

20 of 324

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very patient, they listened to what I needed, and they executed it.

They were efficient.

Read All 324 Survey Responses at Ratings View