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Seismic Retrofit Blog

Apr
28
Did You Feel It? 3.7 Quake Shakes Los Angeles & How to Protect Your Home


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Did you feel the recent magnitude 3.7 earthquake this week? It was near the Newport-Inglewood Fault Zone


A magnitude 3.7 earthquake rattled Windsor-Hills, a neighborhood neighboring South Los Angeles & Culver City, just a few minutes after midnight. Several Angelenos and even some of our Bay Cities Construction employees were woken up the the light shaking, enough to rattle dishes and plenty of nerves. The recent earthquake struck near the Newport-Inglewood Fault Zone (NIFZ), a 47 mile long strike-slip fault that extends from Culver City in the north, all the way down to Newport Beach, in Orange County. The San Andreas Fault, capable of producing 'The Big One', is just one of several faults ...


Nov
25
What is a Brace+Bolt Retrofit? How to Protect Your Home from Earthquakes

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Protecting Your Home from Earthquakes is Easier than Ever.


We all know that California is ‘Earthquake Country’, but did you know that nearly every neighborhood in Los Angeles is near an earthquake fault? In fact according to the Southern California Earthquake Center (Plesch, 2007) there are over 140 active faults in Southern California. Nervous? Don’t be, you can protect your home with a Seismic Retrofit. If your home has a raised foundation and was built before the 1970s, a Brace + Bolt Seismic Retrofit might be right for you. Our short article will help explain what a Seismic Retrofit is, how long the installation will take, and why retrofitting your foundation is a smart ...


Nov
01
Pro vs Amateur - Selecting a Soft-Story Contractor | How to Avoid Getting Scammed


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Lots of people are doing retrofits - avoid scammers, snake oil salesmen, and grifters.




When the Los Angeles City Council adopted the “Mandatory Seismic Retrofit” ordinance 183893 in 2016 it created a boom in construction worth upwards of $1.2 Billion dollars. This has triggered a manic gold rush frenzy in freshly minted would-be contractors that did not exist a few years ago. You can tell they are newcomers because their Contractors License No. starts at 100XXX. I have witnessed many cases where contractors pose as a “retrofit expert” but have had a CSLB license for less 6 months, and I’ve seen other cases where the wannabe “expert” doesn’t ev...


Oct
28
Seismic Retrofits for 'Soft-Story' Buildings | What I've Learned After Three Years.

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It's been three years since we started retrofitting soft-story buildings, here's what we've learned so far.


A few years ago the city of Los Angeles passed Ordinance 183893 & 184081 to require seismic retrofits for Wood-Frame Apartment Buildings with 'Soft Story' (Soft, Weak, Open-Front) features. A short time after that my company began to work on 'Soft Story' seismic retrofit projects after my Structural Engineer approached me with a retrofit project. After years of working together, my engineer remarked: "I know your work... you should look into this soft-story retrofitting ordinance in LA".



"I know your work... you should look into this soft-story retrofitting ordinance in LA"




Since then ...

Jul
18
Bargain Retrofits: The Ugly Truth About Seismic Retrofits in Los Angeles


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How thousands of low-quality seismic retrofit projects are being built across Los Angeles



Jun
28
Soft-Story Retrofit | Los Angeles Retrofit Deadlines

 


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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.


No...


Jun
28
Pasadena Approves Seismic Retrofit Ordinance


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Ordinance No. 7345 passes First & Second Reading.




California is the land of many faults, earthquake faults that is. That's why so many cities in Southern California have recently passed local ordinances to require the seismic retrofit of vulnerable "soft story" apartment buildings. We now have another city that has navigated the gauntlet of public scrutiny and passed a mandatory earthquake retrofit ordinance, the city council of Pasadena officially adopted Ordinance 7345 on May 20, 2019. The ordinance is set to go into effect on June 24, 2019. Pasadena joins the city of Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood in passing a seismic retrofit ordinance. These types of laws stir up controv...


Jun
13
Apr
01
Los Angeles Soft-Story Retrofit Best Practices - Building Won't Fall, Building Won't Break



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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 ...


Mar
14
Unintended Consequences | The Systemic Misuse of the Cantilever Columns May Affect Thousands of Soft Story Buildings



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Will the LA Retrofit Program have unintended consequences?




 



As we enter the fourth year of the Los Angeles soft-story retrofit program, some of the most prominent Structural Engineers (SE & PE) are asking themselves “What the heck is going on?”. There has been a recent trend amongst engineers that are working on soft-story retrofits by using Cantilevered Column Systems (CCS) on apartment buildings of all sizes, often misusing them. Many retrofit contractors promise owners thousands in savings by using Cantilevered Columns instead of a Moment Frame system



Rampant Misuse of CCS


The cantilever column was developed to be a “stop-gap measure”, intended for it to be used o...