Time is Running Out, Have you Hired a Retrofit Contractor Yet?

Los Angeles rolled out their soft-story retrofit program in 2015. The goal is to make the city’s structures more resilient and to prevent loss of life during a seismic event. When creating this program they listed buildings into four tiers. If you received a mandatory letter from the city to retrofit your building the tier your structure falls in should be listed. Tiers one through three should have their retrofits completed by now, while tier four has until 2020 to complete the work. Have you hired a retrofit contractor for your property yet?
Here at RetroFitting 360 we have completed multiple jobs, and have others working, around the greater Los Angeles area. Our team of qualified contractors is ready to help you get your building up to the city’s current earthquake codes. To help you decide, we have put together this list of what to look for when hiring a seismic company to retrofit your soft-story building.
Does the company have its own qualified engineers?
The first step of any retrofit is to have a seismic engineer inspect your property. You can hire a professional engineer to come out. Or, you can find a company that has its own on staff. Choosing a company with its own engineers will save you time and money. Another thing to look for is, does the company offer a free initial consultation or will this be a separate charge?
When the engineer visits your property make sure they do a thorough inspection. These professionals are trained to visually check buildings for damage and they have tests they use to if your building is sturdy enough to withstand the shaking forces of an earthquake. Make sure they pull back the stucco on the walls to check the wood frame underneath. Many contractors neglect this crucial step which may cost you more money in repairs later.
After the inspection is complete, the engineer will draft a design for the retrofit of your building. These plans require quite a bit of time and attention to detail in order for them to pass the licensing department. If the plans are not done right when submitted, the city will deny your construction license, and ask that you modify then resubmit the plans again. With the deadline quickly approaching, no one has time for that.
The seismic engineers at Retrofitting 360 have successfully retrofitted hundreds of properties. They know what the city is looking for and will make sure your retrofit plan passes the first time it is submitted. Once it is approved and the license is issued, a team of retrofit contractors will begin the work.
Will they try to overcharge me for work I don’t really need?
Since Los Angeles began its mandatory soft-story retrofit program, contracting companies have literally appeared overnight. Many of these companies are honest and will do their best to provide a good service. But, many of them do not have an understanding of what is needed for earthquake retrofit. These companies lure property owners in with a lower price and false promises. In the industry, this is known as “value engineering”.
Keep in mind that the wording in the earthquake ordinances states that your building must meet the “minimum of life safety standards”. While these newer companies may deliver on work that meets that standard, your building is not going to be retrofitted to withstand the force of a major earthquake. Yes, you may save money on the initial job, but it may cost you later in unnecessary repairs.
Our contractors at RetroFitting 360 have undergone specialized training in the field of seismic retrofits. Our staff will work with you to deliver a retrofit that not only meets the city’s standards but will also ensure your building is as resilient as we can make it. We will go over every detail with you and help you to choose the most efficient and cost-effective method to get the job done. We won’t leave you in the dark, as we are here to walk you through every step of the long process.
Finding the right contractor for you
Finding a contractor to update your property is not that hard to do. You can do a simple Google search, or look in the yellow pages. You can also ask your neighbors, friends or colleagues to recommend a company to you. Make a list of the companies that appeal to you. Once you have that list, you will want to find out more information about them.
The important things you need to know are:
• How long have they been in business?
• How many soft-story retrofits have they completed?
• Are their contractors trained in seismic retrofits?
• Do they have their own seismic engineers on staff?
• Will they take care of the licensing process for you?
• Will they be available to answer your questions during the process?
Do they offer a free initial consultation?
Ask them if they are willing to give you some names and numbers of other clients. Then follow up with them and see what they thought of the service that was provided. Completing these steps should help you narrow down your list to one or two. Then it is up to you to pick the one that will provide the best service for you.
What we offer
RetroFitting 360 has been performing earthquake retrofits throughout the Los Angeles area since 2016. We handle all of the difficult parts for you, including design & engineering, permit submission, Tenant Habitability Program (THP), construction and tenant management as well as obtaining the certificate of compliance, and cost recovery assistance. Our qualified retrofit contractors will be available to answer all of your questions in a timely manner.
We do what we do best, so you can just take care of the usual business of the day. Our goal is to take the stress and headaches out of the retrofit process and deliver a job that will make you, your tenants, and the city happy. The clock is ticking and if you haven’t started your retrofit yet, time is not on your side. Contact us today and set up your free initial consultation or ask our courteous staff any questions you may have.