The 2016 ordinance of the City of Los Angeles to establish mandatory standards for soft story buildings has brought about a wave of concern among the residents of San Fernando Valley, Westside and Hollywood. This new law requires the retrofitting of buildings which are considered to be at risk of structural failure during earthquakes. The purpose of the ordinance is to promote safety and reduce deficiencies and loss caused by major earthquakes in an affordable fashion. Fortunately, there are numerous Los Angeles Earthquake Retrofit Contractors who specialize in such work.
The Building Department officials explored the city records and walked from block to block to identify the structures which are vulnerable to shaking. Owners of each of such buildings are given notice and this has sparked concerns among apartment owners and residents with a pressure of housing crunch and rising rents.
Owners of such buildings will be given a time of two years to submit their plans of retrofitting or demolition or a proof that the building does not require retrofitting. The entire retrofit process must be completed within seven years of receiving the notice. The owners will be responsible for the costs of retrofit process that can range from $60,000 to $120,000 and even higher for larger buildings. The City has agreed to allow passing half the costs to tenants through a rent rise of up to $38 per month. Tenants or owners living the buildings that need to undergo this process would have to move to some other place for some time when retrofitting is being performed.
Does My Building Need Retrofitting?
The Building Department has created a list of about 13,500 ‘soft story’ buildings which are vulnerable to a structural failure during a major earthquake. These apartments are identified to require some type of retrofit to comply with the new seismic requirements. Such buildings are commonly located in Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley and Hollywood.
These buildings were built in the years after World War II when the population grew rapidly in LA. But the design and age of the buildings are not suitable to withstand seismic shaking. Any building built between 1950 and 1980 is likely to not comply with the seismic code and need retrofitting to be able to withstand earthquake conditions. This is specifically applicable to buildings built near and along the fault lines. Newer fault lines were recently identified impacting Santa Monica and West Los Angeles.
Any apartment building constructed before 1980 has a chance to be a part of the 13,500 soft story structures recorded by the Los Angeles Department of Building Safety (LADBS). Buildings in San Fernando Valley and West Los Angeles are more likely to be included because the apartments are quite older and they might have been constructed over fault lines.
To find out if your building needs to undergo a retrofit process to comply with the new law, you can check the inventory list created by the LADBS.
Earthquake Retrofit Process
The retrofit process is not difficult but involves a series of steps. The first thing is to consult a Los Angeles Earthquake Retrofit contractor, before having the engineering plans approved by LADBS. Once the plan is approved, construction can begin. Tenants and residents will be affected by the construction process. Trenches are dug and new steel beams are installed in place of wooden beams to strengthen the story.
We are one of the leading providers of retrofit process and we can help you with the retrofitting of your soft story building. We are a licensed Los Angeles Earthquake Retrofit Contractor with a team of designers and engineers ready to make your soft story retrofit process quick and painless. We provide a free evaluation service where specialists will walk through your property to analyze and assess the conditions and requirements. We outline all the necessary information and measures to be taken to get your building strengthened to comply with the ordinance. Following this evaluation, you receive the initial proposal that includes estimates for the design, permit and construction work.
We are construction efficiency oriented and a leader in the repair and retrofitting of existing Los Angeles structures. We are dedicated to help you find the most cost-effective solution to save you on retrofitting costs. Our in-house architectural and structural staff makes sure that your floor plans are modified as required to comply with the new seismic code.
Retrofitting Contractors in Los Angeles
There are many contractors and companies offering seismic retrofit services in Los Angeles and it can be overwhelming to select the best one. We highly recommend that you select a retrofit contractor that meets your budget and requirements. Our company, RetroFitting360 offers a site evaluation that is 100% free of charge. One of our retrofit specialists will walk through your property, analyze and assess its conditions in order to outline all necessary information as well as measures to be taken to comply with the Ordinance. Following the evaluation, you’ll receive an initial proposal. If you’re in need of a Retrofitting Contractor we look forward to consulting with you and are just a phone call away.