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If you own an apartment building in the Los Angeles area chances are good that it needs an earthquake retrofit. The city passed new policies, specifically Ordinance 183893, which mandates that any soft-story, or wood-framed, building constructed before 1978, must undergo a retrofit to meet the new standards. This law was designed to make buildings more durable and safer during an earthquake. Many owners were issued notices by the city mandating that they take action now. If you received a notice, or just want to know if your building meets the new standard, you will need to hire a retrofitting company that has experience with apartment buildings. Here are some important tips to help you hire the right contractor for the job.

Do I Need to Get a Retrofit on My Apartment Building?

The answer depends on whether or not your building meets the requirements. If it was constructed before 1978, has two, or more stories, and has a parking garage or open space on the ground floor, then the answer is yes. To find out more information on this you can find it by visiting the LADBS website. They will have all of the criteria, along with a list of resources, on the website.

When Does the Retrofit Need to Be Completed?

If you were issued a mandatory retrofit notice, the answer should be on it. In most cases, owners were given until 2020 – 2022, to have the retrofit completed. If you had a retrofit done already, then the new ordinance gives you a two year period for submitting the proof. If you did not have a retrofit done yet, you are required to have it completed within seven years. Permits are needed to perform the work, and since these take time to acquire, you have 3.5 years to either get a permit for construction or one for demolition.

Will My Tenants Have to Leave During Construction?

In most cases, your tenants will not have to leave while the retrofit is being completed. There have been cases when they had to leave, usually if the City of Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department has classified the building as unsafe during the retrofit. This will depend on what type of damage the building sustained, and what repairs need to be made.

How Much Work Will Be Required?

To find out the answer to that question, you will need to have a professional retrofitting contractor do an assessment on your building. The contractor will inspect the building and then create a work plan for you, so you will know from the outset how much work needs to be done so that your building meets the current ordinances.  The work plan should also include a quote so you can see what it will cost and what options are available to you.

If you own an apartment building in the greater Los Angeles area and need an earthquake retrofit, or have any questions about the process, contact Retrofitting 360 today.