West Hollywood Makes Moves to Retrofit 800 Buildings at Risk of Collapse

Posted May 4, 2018, under Blog

West Hollywood is ready to get serious about earthquake safety.

According to a new city retrofit list, there are more than 800 buildings that are at risk of collapse or significant damage if a large earthquake were to occur.

Of the 800 buildings surveyed, 80% of the structures identified are wood-frame, such as apartment buildings with open carports located on the ground floor. The other 20% of the structures examined are said to be constructed of steel and concrete.

West Hollywood joins the likes of Santa Monica and Los Angeles in taking significant steps to prepare their communities for the imminent “Big One.”

In WeHo, the Hollywood fault line runs through the famous Sunset Strip and some of the buildings on the list include historical landmarks like Andaz West Hollywood, Mondrian, Standard and Sunset Tower.

City officials are hoping new retrofits will help keep residents safe during a disaster and preserve the city’s affordable and rent-controlled housing.

Since the area became its own city in 1984, West Hollywood has prided itself on providing affordable housing for their dwellers – almost 78% of the city’s residents live in rent-controlled housing.

“One good shaker without seismic reinforcements could bring many of those buildings into being red-tagged and having to be demolished — thus wiping out a good portion of our affordable housing stock,” Mayor Pro Tempore John Duran said (via the L.A. Times). “To me, this is about infrastructure repair and maintenance.

“We could see a massive overturn of many of our longtime residents if our buildings are not retrofitted,” Duran added.

Owners of the 800 buildings identified will receive a letter from the city notifying them of the building’s retrofit needs and will have a certain amount of time to comply or dispute the structure’s listing (if they can prove it has already been retrofitted).

The city’s estimated 738 soft-story wood-frame buildings are especially dangerous because the weak ground floors have been known to buckle during an earthquake. After the Northridge earthquake of 1994, 16 people who lived on the ground story of a similar soft-story structure died because of an apartment building collapse.

The city estimates it will cost between $40,000 and $160,000 to retrofit these wood-frame structures and $50 to $100 per square foot for retrofits costs of steel or concrete structures.

If you own a wood-frame, otherwise known as a soft-structure building, contact Julian Construction and we’ll conduct a free inspection for you. Taking action now will save countless lives and thousands of dollars.

Now more than ever it’s important to be proactive about earthquake preparation and safety.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair and earthquake retrofitting in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

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