If you live in the Los Angeles area, you know that earthquakes are just part of the package that includes the warm climate and sunny beaches. Over the years many new building practices and technologies have been developed to make sure that buildings and structures are better suited to withstand a California earthquake, like the new Life Safety policies. But many structures that were built before this new technology may not be earthquake proof and are subject to the Los Angeles Earthquake Retrofit Program.
Keep reading to find out if your building is on our list of structures that would benefit from earthquake retrofitting so you will know if this type of reinforcement works for you.
Apartment Buildings and Complexes
The most popular apartment complexes seen around Los Angeles are known as “dingbat” buildings. A dingbat is a structure with a parking garage or carport on the ground floor and apartment units built above it. These type of structures are also classified as being a soft-story building. When the Northgate Earthquake hit in 1994, many soft-story buildings, including apartments were destroyed and some tenants were even killed. This destruction led to huge financial losses for the landlords, some of the tenant’s families sued them, and many went out of business. In order to prevent this type of loss during future earthquakes an earthquake retrofit will help to strengthen these types of structures.
Unreinforced Masonry Structures
Buildings constructed from “weak” materials are classified as Unreinforced Masonry Structures or URMs. This includes structures built from materials like adobe, red brick, or other types of weak bricks. During an earthquake the mortar surrounding the bricks is not durable enough to keep the building standing. In order to strengthen a URM structure the roof and walls need to be properly anchored and braces will need to be added, these are included in a standard earthquake retrofit.
Apartments buildings aren’t the only types that need to be retrofitted, office buildings can also become dangerous during, or after, an earthquake. Whether the floors collapse on themselves, or exits are blocked, you will want to make sure the people working are kept safe. Getting a retrofit ensures your building is better able to withstand the next earthquake, or other natural disaster, with minimal downtime or injury to the people working there.
Retrofitting Your Commercial Building for an Earthquake
Does my building need a seismic retrofitting?
If any of the following apply to you, then yes you need a retrofit:
Did you receive a letter from the city?
Was your building constructed before 1996?
Is your building listed on any of the websites that have compiled lists of structures needing an earthquake retrofit?
How Long Does a Retrofit Take?
The answer to that question depends on the type of the building, the size and how much work needs to be done. The work can usually be completed without any downtime to your business. An earthquake causes enough damage that you won’t want to add the loss of income due to your business being closed because of structural damage.
If you need an earthquake retrofitting or you want to know more about this service and about the Los Angeles Earthquake Retrofit Program, contact Retrofitting360 for more information.