In 1994, the Northridge Earthquake struck, flattening homes and destroying lives. After the dust settled, steps were taken to ensure that everyone would be protected before another major disaster could happen. To this end, numerous programs and city ordinances came into effect to ensure that buildings that were built before the Northridge Earthquake are properly retrofitted so that they adhere to current earthquake standards. One such program, the Santa Monica Soft Story Seismic Retrofit program, came into effect in 2017.
While new buildings are all built to withstand powerful earthquakes, unfortunately, many older buildings are not. Instead of tearing down or condemning these buildings, however, owners can engage local contractors, such as Retrofitting360, to make their buildings safe and habitable.
Who Does This Effect?
Through the Santa Monica Soft Story Seismic Retrofit program, thousands of commercial and multi-family buildings were identified as needing repairs. And, because a major earthquake could happen at any moment, these repairs need to be done as soon as possible. However, the repairs are specific, and you will need a proven company to take care of your safety. Once such company is Retrofitting360which serves Los Angeles property owners by providing safe, cost-effective solutions to the mandatory Los Angeles and Santa Monica Soft Story Retrofit Program.
By now, you should have received an assessment notice. If you haven’t but believe that you may be on the list, the city of Santa Monica has provided this helpful link: https://gis-smgov.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/locations/data.
What Do I Do Know?
If you have received an assessment notice, or if your building is on the above list, the best thing to do is first speak to a professional company. There is a chance that you actually don’t need to make any changes to your building. You may have engaged in previous retrofitting that has actually already brought your building up to current earthquake codes. Or a further survey may conclude that your building does have proper earthquake measures in place.
Once a further assessment has been done by a professional company, there is a good chance that repairs, and retrofitting will have to be done. The good news is that while there is a timeframe for the retrofitting to take place, it does not have to be done overnight. While it varies based on building type, soft story buildings do not have to finish their repairs until 2023 or 2024. This gives you plenty of time to complete an assessment, have everything inspected, and have your building signed off for retrofitting compliance.
You may still have a few years left to comply with the Santa Monica Soft Story Seismic Retrofit program, but that doesn’t mean that you should wait. Unfortunately, your building and your life could be greatly affected by a future major earthquake. If you’re still unsure how to proceed, talk to a professional company, such as Retrofitting360. They will answer your questions, provide guidance, and help you to understand all the necessary steps.