What is a Los Angeles Soft Story Retrofit in a Nut Shell?
Here’s an easy way to answer the question about whether or not your Los Angeles building is a considered a soft story and may be required to undergo a retrofit:
- Soft-story buildings have three or more stories.
- They have a first-floor plan that is not rigid which means that it is softer than the floors that are above it.
- This could be an apartment building that has parking or retail stores with large windows underneath.
These types of buildings are prone to failure during seismic activity. This is because they are not reinforced and can allow for more movement during an earthquake. This results in the floors on top of the ground floor to collapse. The soft-story retrofitting in Los Angeles has made a mandatory program to ensure the safety of the people.
Keep in mind that there are over 13,000 buildings that need seismic retrofit in Los Angeles alone. As of November 2015, it is mandatory to retrofit these buildings.
Soft Story Retrofitting in Los Angeles Isn’t Just Recommended, It’s Law
As stated, in November of 2015 it was signed. This is called the Mandatory Retrofit Program. This means that buildings that have wooden frames need to be retrofitted to withstand earthquakes. Structures that are at risk to be damaged during an earthquake must be fixed. This includes the soft-story retrofitting of Los Angeles county structures. Since LA passed this law, other cities are now mandating the same idea. This is put in place to help protect and avoid devastation.
It is stated that the law will allow owners of dangerous properties seven years to fix the problems. The seven years is to fix wood apartments. They are allowed twenty-five years to fix buildings made of concrete. To date, there are over 13,000 complexes that need a seismic retrofit. Experts believe that there are many more buildings that need soft-story retrofit in Los Angeles. It is estimated that there are 1,000 structures made of concrete that will need updating as well. The updates would include landmark buildings.
How Does The Soft Story Retrofit Law Affect You?
We now know that it doesn’t pay to argue if a strong earthquake will hit the city. The question now is when. We know that strong earthquakes have struck Southern California before and it is just a matter of time before the next one happens. Keep in mind the longer that you wait to fix your building, the more likely that it can be damaged significantly.
The buildings that are not reinforced can cause serious damage to the building and those who are inside it. The building could collapse. This could result in death. However, did you realize that you are likely the one responsible for the damages and injuries that are caused? There are many instances on record that the property owner has been sued for injuries and property damage from earthquakes.
You should be taking your building seriously. Soft-story retrofitting Los Angeles is a great way to help reduce damage and save lives. Plus, you can avoid a hefty lawsuit from your tenants if an earthquake were to hit. When you are thinking about safeguarding your building there are a lot of things that can help you.
When you do this, you can lower your insurance costs. Your premium will drop because your building is safer. Plus, there are tax breaks and grants that you can qualify for to help you afford the retrofit. There are many means of financial aid available for you to start stabilizing your building so that the next seismic activity doesn’t ruin it. It is also important to note that your tenants can help you pay for these repairs as well. They can be held up to fifty percent responsible for the cost of the repairs.
What is the Mandatory Retrofit Program Time Table?
These Mandatory Retrofit Program time frames are based on when the property owner received a notice. From the time of the notice the person has
- 2 Years to submit proof of previous retrofit plans. If they do not have previous plans they must submit plans to retrofit themselves or demolish the building.
- They have 3.5 years to get a permit and start demolition or construction.
- They will have seven years to complete the project completely.
As of 2019, there are about 4,500 buildings that have not submitted any plans to retrofit or demolish.
Who Should You Pick for Your Retrofit?
Retrofit1 is a soft story retrofit company that is considered a leader in the field of retrofitting. Many people believe that our company is the best for retrofitting in LA. We will bring your building up to par with the strict building codes that Los Angeles has to offer.