California is known for its warm, sandy beaches, Disneyland, and the glamour of Hollywood movies and celebrities. No town in the Los Angeles area has more star power than Beverly Hills. This glitzy city is where many actors, actresses, and notable celebrities make their home. You can spot many of them shopping in the upscale district of Rodeo Drive, or just hanging out at the Beverly Hills hotel. But just like most of the Los Angeles area, Beverly Hills also has their earthquakes. For this reason, owners here are part of the city’s mandated soft-story retrofit program.
On January 17, 1994, the greater Los Angeles area was struck by a massive earthquake known as the Northgate Earthquake. Besides the major damage done to the highways and structures in the area, 60 people lost their lives in the devastation. After it was over, city officials assessed all of the damage and updated their building policies so that future quakes would not cause as much destruction to area structures.
This new policy states that all buildings constructed before 1994, must be brought up to the current safety standards by 2020. If you are a landlord or developer, then now is the time to get started. If you do an online search you will find a number of Soft Story Retrofit Contractors in Beverly Hills, one of which is RetroFitting 360. Time is running out to get the work completed and the long process is quite time consuming. Retrofitting 360 provides services to the city of Los Angeles and surrounding areas, and they will provide you with a qualified contractor to help you complete your retrofit.
Understanding the soft-story policies
Although Beverly Hills is full of glitz and glamor, it is still part of Los Angeles County, and must follow the city’s building codes. After the 1994 earthquake, it was decided that many types of buildings would need to retrofit themselves to better withstand future seismic events. While it has taken city officials some time to work out all the details, there is now a soft-story mandatory retrofit program in place.
A soft story building has three or more stories and is built over a ground level which includes open space, like a parking garage. The ground level would have doors and windows. In essence, an older soft story building does not have enough bottom support to withstand a major earthquake. There are many possibilities to retrofit a soft story building. A Retrofit Contractor in Beverly Hills will be needed to help you understand your options and survey your building to decide what will work best for your individual needs.
The amount of work that needs to be done will depend on what the contractor finds in the initial assessment. They may need to create or reinforce the number of shear walls in the bottom of a building. Parking garages can also be targeted, as they may need stronger beams, or more columns, to prop up the floors above.
Completing the process
You will need to hire a contractor who knows the area, the building codes, and has a history of soft-story retrofits. Once the initial assessment is done, they will create a work plan and help you choose the best options to get the job completed according to your building’s needs. As an owner, you will get to make the important decisions, but remember that your building needs to follow the updated city codes.
Once a plan for the retrofitting has been decided on, the work will begin. Retrofitting 360 contractors will work hard and do their best to minimize construction annoyances. Noise will be kept to a minimum and work hours won’t impede night time. Parking will be kept open and construction vehicles will do their best not to disrupt traffic. It is understood that people will still be living in the area during the retrofit process, and they will want to be disturbed as little as possible.
Once the job has been completed, city engineers will come out to do the final inspection. Each building needs to pass this inspection as part of the soft story retrofit program. Once your building’s retrofit has taken place, you can rest easy knowing that everything will be protected, including precious lives, in the event of another major earthquake.