We have a 40+ year old rental home in south central New Mexico. One
morning, I noticed a large Lull forklift illegally parked adjacent to
our North block retaining wall on the sidewalk adjacent to the wall
about 2 feet from the wall. I also noticed that opposite to where each
of the Lull wheels rested on the ground the wall is severely cracked
just above the sidewalk. I had inspected the area two days earlier for
weeds and debris and there was no wall cracking at that time and no
rain in between. And there is no wall cracking between the cracked
areas or on either side of the cracked areas. Later measurements by me
indicate that the sidewalk was sunken in about a 1/2" where the Lull
tires rested. My tests also indicate that the inner edge of the
sidewalk rests on the outer edge of the wall's foundation. I do not
know if the wall's foundation is damaged. I assume the wall has rebar
in it but I am not absolutely sure.
The land where the Lull was parked is pitched about 5 degrees up to the
wall. I estimate that the weight of the Lull to be about 8,000 lbs
(actual weight??), and that the shear force into the wall was therefore
about 700 lbs (8000 x sin[5 deg.]) plus there was likely considerably
greater downward force on the wall's foundation. It is clear to me that
the Lull cracked the wall. However, the insurance company of the Lull
owner (a contractor building a clinic adjacent to our property) has
refused to pay, claiming that the wall is "old" and probably has a
"defective foundation." Because of this refusal, we will probably have
to litigate this matter.
I have done some relevant Internet research with limited results. I
need to obtain definitive information on: (A) Government and industry
safe distance standards, regulations, etc. for driving and parking
heavy construction vehicles near walls and buildings. (B) Specific Lull
operating manual and other Lull documentation that addresses this
safety issue. (C) Websites, books, specific periodicals, etc. which
addresses these issues.
I am an older Disabled Veteran who knows little about repairing block
walls, so if you know someone reliable and modestly-priced contractor
in the south-central New Mexico area who can inspect my wall and/or
give me an estimate for free or low-cost, please also let me know.
Also, if you know of a reliable structural engineer in this area who
can evaluate the situation, please let me know.
Please respond. I need all the help I can get. Thanks. John J. Williams