HERNDON, Va. - A woman who has gained internet fame for documenting an underground home project said the permitting process is expected to take at least another month.
"Kala" is the woman behind the TikTok account @engineer.everything. She confirmed to FOX 5 Monday, ‘Kala’ isn’t her real name but it’s what she is known by her nearly 550,000 followers on TikTok. Her videos have several thousands of views. Some have millions.
Her videos document the nearly two-year-long project of digging a massive tunnel under her Herndon home.
A video posted in Aug. 2023 has nearly 8 million views, recapping her year’s worth of work. The tunnel includes a 30-foot entrance, while the main chamber is 22 feet below ground.
The most recent video post, which has nearly 1 million views at last check, was posted on Feb. 10.
In the video, she explained she received a stop work order in December which required her to apply for permits and an engineering assessment to ensure her home is safe.
"The engineering assessment is particularly important, because I wasn’t supposed to occupy the basement until it’s determined to be safe," she said. "The report concluded that the structure of the tunnel is sufficient enough to support the rock, and the rock itself is stable and shows no sign of shifting. The work was accepted."
‘Kala’ said she also worked with an architect to submit a set of drawings for the permit application.
"I’m still working to respond to comments and to provide information for the city for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, structural, and geotechnical aspects of the project," she said "At this time, I requested an extension, and I am expecting the process to continue for at least a month more, and I’m optimistic."
Rosie Hernandez has lived in the neighborhood for about three years. She said she had not heard of what was happening a few homes away from her home.
"It’s weird for me. It’s new, because I have never seen anything before. I don’t know. It’s weird. It’s new for me," Hernandez said. "I don’t see anything like machines. I don’t see anything."
FOX 5 first reported on the viral videos in January, which is when the town of Herndon confirmed it received notice of activity in potential violation of the Uniform Statewide Building Code occurring at a home within town limits.
"As is standard protocol following such notifications, representatives from the building official’s and zoning administrator’s offices conducted a site inspection on Thursday, December 7, 2023. The town is working with the property owner to correct any violations and ensure that the property is safe and in compliance with the code," a statement from the town read.
A spokesperson for the town of Herndon confirmed Monday she saw our request for an update on the permit process, but she has not provided an update as of this writing.