What is a Soft-Story Building?

It is important that you know that soft-story retrofitting in Los Angeles is now required under the law. Retrofit1 is a licensed contractor in California that will provide you with the best work. We will educate you on what needs to be done and answer any questions you may have about the process. We will educate you on the process and what is mandatory by law to fix your building.

Examples of Soft Story Buildings we’ve recently worked on

What Is a Soft Story Building?

A soft-story building is multiple levels. It will have a larger ground level that is open. This is generally used for parking. These types of buildings are all over Los Angeles because they were built after the Second World War. This was due to a large increase in population.

Which Buildings Need a Seismic Retrofit? 

Buildings that are vulnerable and meet the following will need a retrofit. 

  • If your building has two stories or more and is constructed out of wood. 
  • If the building was built before codes implemented January 1, 1978. 
  • If the ground floor is parking or open space. 

Keep in mind this doesn’t apply to any buildings that have three units or less. It was in November of 2015 that this law was passed requiring older buildings to be brought up to current standards. 

Why do Buildings Need a Retrofit?

You may be wondering why this law was enacted and why you have to do it. This law was put into place because soft-story buildings are very vulnerable during seismic activity. They are prone to collapsing. Structures built before 1979 are very weak by today’s standards. However, there are a significant amount of soft-story buildings in Los Angeles. Most were constructed between the times of 1960 and 1979. The buildings are known to fail during seismic activity. They are prone to serious damage. The reason these buildings are weak is that they have opened on their ground floor. This means that the building will move much more than the structure can stand. If this were to happen, the structure could collapse on top of the open space. Soft-story retrofitting in Los Angeles is now mandatory and you must do it to protect the people residing in these areas.

What is a Soft-Story Retrofit Los Angeles? 

The weaker parts of a building need to be reinforced so that they can withstand and resist the movement that occurs during an earthquake. Most of the time I-beams and steel connectors will be used to create this resistance. The most common solutions are Special Moment Frames, Ground Beams, and Cantilevered I-Beams. 

What is the Soft Story Retrofit Process?

The process is not that difficult, however, this process will help make sure that everything is done right. 

  1. The first thing you must do is create a plan for the buildings. 
  2. You will next want to contact an architect licensed in the state of California. You will also want to know the property lines and boundaries. 
  3. The architect/engineer that you hire will use your plan to help create a solution for the weakness. 
  4. You will bring your plans to the city for them to check your plan. 
  5. You must visit your city planners once you have a plan ready. They will provide you with notes and guidance for your project. 
  6. Talk to an architect to get a quote for the project. Keep in mind you need to have a detailed set of plans for the most accurate cost. 
  7. Give the tenants notice of your plan. You must notify them because items may be disconnected or they may have to leave temporarily. 
  8. Get to work!
  9. Make sure you have a schedule for your soft-story retrofitting in Los Angeles project. This disrupts your tenants so you want to have an efficient schedule. 

Learn More

If you need help with your project, make sure that you contact Retrofit1. We have licensed professionals in California. They are here to help you get your job done right. We will help you with your preliminary draft and be there with you to present your plans. Our company will not start any projects without providing you with the best quote we can give you. Our quotes cover materials as well as labor costs. We want you to know what is going to happen before you even begin doing business with us.