If you own a soft-story building in Southern California then you are well aware that the cities of Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood legally require seismic retrofits for soft-story buildings. The distinctive design of tuck-in parking on the ground floor makes soft-story buildings especially vulnerable during seismic activity, making them prone to collapse. The first kind of soft-story retrofit ordinance was passed by the city of Los Angeles in 2015, Santa Monica quickly followed suit in 2016, and West Hollywood joined the efforts in 2017. This year both Beverly Hills and Pasadena have begun to count how many at-risk buildings can be identified within their municipalities.
Not all retrofits are created equal - see how we build BETTER retrofit solutions.
As a retrofit contractor that specializes in soft-story buildings, I see lots of engineering plans that have been designed by other companies. Every day property owners send me their drawings with the intention of getting a construction quote, they want to know just how much their soft-story retrofit will cost to build. Sometimes I have to be the bearer of bad news - I can't tell you how frustrated they get when they find out that their plans will not work as designed. Their plans have a series of shortcomings, they won't do enough to protect the structure in the event of a major earthquake. The most common ...
What are the biggest mistakes contractors, engineers, and building owners make on their retrofit project?
Soft Story Retrofit Mistakes in Los Angeles
What are the biggest mistakes people make when dealing with soft-story buildings? They try to solve the wrong problem – But How? When the city of Los Angeles passed ordinance 183893 and 184081 to require seismic retrofit for older buildings with ‘tuck in’ parking, many property owners described it as an “unreasonable burden”.
Property owners think that they have a ‘compliance problem’ and that they must comply with the retrofit ordinance, when in fact they have a ‘health and safety problem’...