Los Angeles Soft-Story Ordinance

The Los Angeles soft story retrofit Ordinances 183893 & 184081 took effect on November 22, 2015. Orders then began to be sent out by May of 2016 to buildings identified as having earthquake vulnerability with weak and/or open front wall lines, creating a “soft story” with tuck under parking.

Photo Caption: Example of a soft story building with tuck under parking.

The goal of the Los Angeles soft story retrofit ordinance is to reduce weak and deficient structural areas by reinforcing the soft story areas. In turn, this helps to protect the building and the tenants inside from an earthquake, as well as significantly reduce the cost of damages. 

In Los Angeles, the soft story retrofit criteria is as follows:

  1. Consist of 2 or more stories with wood frame construction
  2. Built under building code standards enacted before January 1, 1978.
  3. Contains ground floor parking or other open floor space
  4. The building has 4 or more dwelling units

The Los Angeles soft story retrofit timelines, from the receipt of the Order to Comply, are:

  • 2 years: submit proof of previous retrofit or submit plans done by an engineer or architect showing the retrofitting needed or plans to demolish
  • 5 years (from the original compliance date, so 1.5 years after the engineering deadline): obtain a permit to begin construction or demolition
  • 7 years, total, from the original compliance date: complete retrofit construction

Los Angeles has a Tenant Habitability Plan (THP) requirement and a Cost Recovery program which allows the property owner to potentially recoup up to 50% of the cost of construction over the span of 10 years. Retrofit1 handles both of those for you!

Retrofit1 has completed a myriad of soft story retrofit buildings in the city of Los Angeles to protect soft story buildings and tenants from an earthquake. We have a great relationship with the LA DBS and handle all city communication and visits for you. Contact us today for a free estimate or to review your current plans. We can save you money on construction! 1-800-4Retro1 (473-8761).

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