Los Angeles: Becoming Safer Place to Live After Earthquake Retrofits

Posted November 27, 2019, under Blog

Los Angeles is making some major headway in their effort to earthquake retrofit all vulnerable buildings throughout the city and the county!

If you live or work in Los Angeles, chances are you’ve seen the signs of progress. Steel frames and concrete walls are popping up along the sides of first-story parking garages and apartment buildings.

Contractors in and around the city have made a lot of headway in the completion of soft story retrofits. Soft stories are apartment or commercial buildings that were built on top of an open first floor, making the buildings more vulnerable to destruction and collapse in the face of a large earthquake.

To-date, 27% of Los Angeles’ soft story structures have been retrofitted, which is up 5% in the last 14 months.

According to new research by the Los Angeles Times, the regions with the highest levels of soft story buildings are located on the Westside and in the San Fernando Valley – and 29% of those buildings have already been retrofitted.

For the remaining structures in central LA, such as Hollywood, MidCity, Koreatown, 26% have been completed. The total combined make up 80% of the identified soft story apartments in Los Angeles.

While many of the cities have made a lot of progress in the last year, the Eastside of Los Angeles is lagging behind with only 17% of these retrofits completed.

There’s still work to be done, though – the Times estimates there are 8,000 soft story structures throughout Los Angeles that need to be retrofitted.

Considering that these soft story mandates were passed in 2015, there’s been significant progress made in the last 4 years.

The mandate, which was passed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, gives building owners of these vulnerable soft story structures 7 years to complete their retrofits once they’ve been notified.

“When we think about preparing for a major earthquake, our first thought has to be about saving lives – and I know that aggressive action on these retrofits will make that difference when the Big One hits,” he said in a statement (via the LA Times). “Our progress is ahead of schedule, but we have to keep pushing to make certain that we get the job done as quickly as possible.”

Soft story buildings were a popular type of construction in the 60s-80s. However, after the Northridge Earthquake of ’94 many of these types of buildings suffered the most damage and collapsed after the intense shaking – resulting in countless injuries and fatalities from these structural failures.

Most soft story retrofits cost between $40,000 to $160,000 to retrofit, with the average cost around $80,000.

Retrofitting these buildings will not only save the lives of residents who reside there, it will maintain older housing in Los Angeles … housing that Los Angeles cannot afford to lose.

“The destruction of tens of thousands of units of housing after a big earthquake will bring on a housing crisis unlike anything we have ever seen,” Garcetti lamented. “This is the rainy day. Spend it now before something bad happens.”

If you think you own a home or an apartment building that needs earthquake retrofitting, contact Julian Construction today.

You can schedule a free inspection with us, where we’ll send over one of our qualified foundation specialists to inspect and analyze the area in order to determine the best way to strengthen the building.

To schedule a free inspection with Julian Construction, click here or call us now at 877-407-3876. A representative will review the information you provide and contact you to schedule your inspection.

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