Soft-Story Retrofit Program In Los Angeles

A lot of the properties including your commercial buildings and apartments have what is known as a soft-story condition. These properties are going to need to comply with what is known as the new program that has been implemented. Most people are not going to be familiar with this law or term, however, it is easy to understand. This term is used to help describe a building that has three stories or more. The stories are going to be located over the ground level and/or windows. It could also be over large doors, openings, and large commercial spaces. Most often, a shear wall will be required to help stabilize the area.

Your typical soft-story building will be a building of apartments that have carports or open spaces below the buildings. This is not going to be designed to withstand earthquakes or to help protect the building above. Without strengthening these areas, they are going to be at risk of structural damage with an earthquake occurs. The first floor of the building will be weak because it doesn’t have the proper shear walls to stabilize it. The beams that surround the open spaces are also not going to be strong enough to support the entire building when a serious earthquake occurs.

It was in 2015 that the city of LA passed an ordinance to mandate standards for all soft-story buildings. This is to help promote the safety of the public and help minimize structural damages caused by earthquakes. This ordinance will require all the soft-story buildings to be retrofitted. This includes most buildings that were built before 1978. Many buildings are going to require a seismic retrofit in the Los Angeles area. All these buildings will need to be completed by the year 2022.

Keep in mind that any apartment that were built before 1980 will need to be part of the program. It is going to fall under the list of the thirteen thousand buildings that were identified. People who live in the SF Valley and Westside are going to be most affected because they have older apartments and areas. These buildings are in larger numbers as well. Plus, these areas have quite a high number of apartments that are aged. This means that they are going to have to have a seismic retrofit done by the year 2022. This is because buildings that have been built between 1950 and 80 did not think about the earthquakes and therefore, do not meet the standards that are put into place today. They need a retrofit so that they can withstand the shakes of earthquakes better. This will particularly apply to buildings that are built near a fault line.

Retrofitting an apartment building in the Los Angeles area

The Seismic Retrofit Process

Many buildings were identified as needing a seismic retrofit done. The owners of the buildings were notified. After the owners are notified it is in the hands of the owner to take over. The process is not a cheap one. It can be quite expensive. You can expect costs anywhere from 60 to 130 thousand dollars. This will depend on the size of the building that needs the process done. Owners have only two years to complete this after they have received a compliance order. They will need to submit their plans for their retrofit or their demolition plans. They may also submit some type of proof that their building will not need any retrofitting as well. The full process must be done within seven years of the initial order that was given.

The process is not a difficult one, however, there is a lot of planning that needs to be taken into consideration. The first step is getting your plans you have approved by your department. These are the plans that need to work with the new laws. Your department will approve or deny them. You also need to make sure that you are allowing any tenants that will be affected by your construction a notice in advance. You will then have trenches that are going to be dug. Then there will be a new steel beam in place of any existing wooden beams. This will help provide the support that the building needs to survive an earthquake.

The purpose of this is to counteract the forces that occur during an earthquake. This means that different materials will be installed to help reinforce the stress points through the foundation of your building.

There will be reinforcement materials and other materials used to help your building withstand an earthquake. It will help minimize the damage that is done as well. This means that after an earthquake there will not be as much needed for a repair either.

What We Offer

Here at Retrofit1, we offer a free evaluation of your property. This will be where a professional comes out and take a look at your building. They will then provide you with a free estimate that was based on the information that they gathered. Plus, they will give you an estimate with all the permits as well. We have specialists that will walk through the property and help you realize your conditions and they will assess your conditions. They will take notes and outline any information and plans to help you know what needs to be done.

Retrofit1 aims to find the easiest and most effective way to apply with the ordinance. We want to make sure that we are causing little change to your existing structure. You will receive a proposal that has an estimated cost for all the things that will be needed.

Here at Retrofit1, our staff is specially trained in this process so that they can give you the best information. We will help with drawings that will help you get your permit and all other documentation that is needed to submit for approval.
We have a great design team that will ensure that the drawings are as clear as possible so that construction can start without the hassle and as soon as possible. Once the plan gets approved, we are going to get the job done as quickly as possible so that your building complies with the new ordinance.