California is known for its many amusements like its beaches, Disney Land, and Hollywood. But it is considered by many to be earthquake central. The state experiences all kinds of quakes, from mild to devastating. In 1994, a major quake left behind ruined buildings, collapsed highways, and whole neighborhoods were changed. Since that earthquake the city of Los Angeles updated their soft-story retrofit policies to make sure future quakes would not cause as much devastation.
Los Angeles is a huge city that lies in the San Fernando Valley and is surrounded by smaller suburbs. Chatsworth is one of these and it is situated at the northwest end of the valley. This smaller town is known for some great hiking along Stoney Point and its shopping centers. But Chatsworth is also at risk for another major earthquake like the one in 1994. This area of the San Fernando Valley is considered a high risk for earthquakes, they have had over 3,000 of them since 1931. If you own any type of soft-story building you want to call a retrofit contractor in Chatsworth, like Retrofitting 360, and get your building assessed.
RetroFitting 360 employs professionals in this field and will happily help you to bring your building up to code. They will walk you through the whole process and ensure that the work is delivered on time and remains cost effective. The deadline for bringing older structures up to par is 2020, and since the process involves a number of steps you will want to call them right away.
Is your building a soft-story?
Any building that is three, or more, stories high, and is built above ground, is considered a soft-story building. On the ground level of these structures there is usually doors and windows and some type of commercial space. When they are built they include a sheer wall to stabilize the structure. But, apartment and office building built before 1994, may not have a sheer wall that reaches high enough.
Another thing to consider, is the open spaces, like parking garages, which the structure might include. During a major quake, if these are not built according to the current policies, they will not be safe during a major earthquake. The floors can easily collapse on themselves, trapping people inside. A Soft Story Retrofit Contractor in Chatsworth will be needed to make sure your building can withstand the ground rolling and shaking if a quake should occur.
Don’t learn a hard lesson after the fact. Many of the victims of the 1994, earthquake were apartment dwellers. Tenants renting have no knowledge of the building’s construction, and so it falls to the building’s owners to maintain the structure. This is especially important for landlords who own apartment buildings that meet the guidelines for soft-story retrofitting. It is your responsibility to make sure your tenants are safe and that your building is sound. After an earthquake, tenants have been known to sue the landlord for losses accrued, leading to high court costs and settlements. You can avoid this by bringing your building up to the current standards, if it was built before 1994.
The steps involved in a retrofitting
The first step is to have your building assessed by a professional soft-story retrofit contractor. They will come out and complete a thorough investigation and create a work plan if your building needs repairs. Once the work plan is put together, the next step is to apply for the building permits needed before any work can begin.
After the permits are issued, the contractor will oversee the project and work to make sure that it is completed in a timely manner. This could include adding more steel beams to any open spaces, or adding or extending sheer walls where needed. After the work is finished you will need to get it inspected by another professional, usually from the city.
Once the building passes the city’s inspection you will receive a full report of the completed project. As you can see, there are quite a few steps involved. The deadline to have the work completed and inspection done is 2020, so it would be good idea to get started on this today.