Importance and Legality of Seismic Retrofitting in Los Angeles

California is a seismically active region. And while large earthquakes are rare, they can occur. The massive 8.2 earthquake that shook Mexico last September is an antecedent to keep in mind. It’s a reminder of the importance and legality of seismic retrofitting in Los Angeles.

Retrofitting is mandatory for big buildings in the city. This makes sense considering not only past earthquakes but also, the fact that the San Andreas Fault runs very close to and underneath densely populated areas of Los Angeles. So if you own or run a building you need to be aware of the importance and legality of seismic retrofitting in Los Angeles. It can save big amounts of money and what is best, many human lives in case a tragedy occurs.

Legal requirements on building retrofit

The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety developed the LA Seismic Retrofit Program. It requires building owners to strengthen their properties to improve performance in case an earthquake happens. This program is mandatory, and its goal is to reduce the risk of injury or loss of life that may result from earthquakes on wood frame soft-story buildings.

By definition, soft-story building is a structure that has a weaker first floor and is unable to carry the weight of the stories above during an earthquake. The first floor of these buildings generally has large openings in the perimeter walls. Garages, tuck-under parking or even large windows are good examples of this. The buildings affected by this regulation are the ones that follow this criteria:

  • Has two or more stories wood frame construction;
  • Was built under building code standards enacted before January 1, 1978
  • Contains ground floor parking or other similar open floor space that causes soft, weak or open wall lines.

The only exception for this are residential buildings with 3 or less units.

Importance and Legality of Seismic Retrofitting in Los Angeles

Hire seismic retrofitting professionals

The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety compel owners to hire seismic retrofitting experts to evaluate the strength of the building. They must be engineers or architects licensed in the state of California. They must develop plans for the building’s seismic strengthening in compliance with this program. Then you must notify tenants in writing per HCIDLA regulations.

You can find those licensed professionals when you hire Los Angeles Retrofit and Construction services. We have the training and the preparation to be fully aware of the importance and legality of seismic retrofitting in Los Angeles. So call us now at (213) 238-8473 and (818) 635-4757 to get the services your building needs to comply with the law