Seismic Retrofit Blog

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


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...

Could My Soft-Story Building Collapse During an Earthquake?


(Collapsed Buildings after the Northridge Earthquake)

If you look around a typical Los Angeles neighborhood, there’s no doubt you will find a soft-story building. Soft-Story buildings are easy to identify because they feature tuck under parking (this is parking that is below raised parts of the structure), a popular design for apartment buildings. This type of apartment building design is prone to structural failure and collapse during earthquakes if not built to modern building code.

The Los Angeles Department of Building Safety recently identified 13,500 apartments that will require some type of seismic retrofit as part of the LADBS Soft-Story Retrofit Program. The mandatory progra...