What Is the Required Los Angeles Soft-Story Retrofit Ordinance?

In November of 2015, the city of Los Angeles approved the 183893 ordinances. This was the implementation of the seismic code regulations for soft-story buildings. The goal of this program was to make sure that structures were safer and would not easily be demolished during seismic activity. The buildings would be subject to failure during or after an earthquake without proper reinforcement.

Ordinance 183893

This ordinance states that the building must meet and comply with the program that has been put into place. The program states that buildings that

  • Have a ground floor potion that has parking or open space
  • Is made of wood-frame 
  • Was built before January 1, 1978
  • Has four or more units 

Must comply with the ordinance. 

Ordinance 184081

This ordinance is the time limit that the buildings and property owners have to complete their soft-story retrofitting in Los Angeles. The program states that
The owner should submit an analysis that will be reviewed and approved within two years. This should have one of the following:

  • It should have a statement showing that the building meets proper codes.
  • Have a plan to alter the structure to meet the code requirements.
  • Have a plan for demolition the structure.
  • The landowner should have the order and get all the permits that are necessary for the alterations or demolition of their property within three and a half years.
  • The landowner must have the construction done or the demolition completed with all the proper permits within seven years.

Keep in mind that these dates are based on when the property owner was notified of the need for renovations or demolition. 

You Will Need To Soft-Story Retrofit in Los Angeles If…

If your property has any type of tuck-in parking. If the building has tuck-in parking as well two or more stories. If the property features tuck-in parking and has more than two stories as well as three units or more. 

Keep in mind that if your property doesn’t have any of the listed above that you will not need to comply with the new laws that have been put into place. However, this is where the laws may become a little more tricky. Keep in mind that the ordinance applies to structures that are made of wood. If the property is made of brick or concrete, you are exempt from a seismic retrofit. Soft-story retrofitting Los Angeles only needs to be done if the building is made of wood and has the characteristics listed above. 

Generally, this wooden structure will have open parking that is on the first floor or even underground. This will be located directly underneath the living space. This is what is considered weak and gets the name soft-story. 

What is a Soft-Story Building?

Many people will not be familiar with a soft-story building. However, you can identify them fairly easy. These are multiple story buildings that have wide doors, large open spaces, and windows. Generally, the wide-open spaces are going to be used for parking. These large openings would require a wall that would be used for stability with the codes today. However, the codes back when these structures were built did not need stability. Most of the soft-story buildings are apartments with three stories or more. They generally have tuck-in garages.

Getting Started

For soft-story retrofitting Los Angeles, you may not know where to start. However, the process is easier said than done. It is not a complicated process, however, it can be a lengthy one. When you want to soft-story retrofit, the first step is for you to make a plan that you will submit to the city so that they can approve it. During this time you will need to find a professional to help you. Retrofit1 is a great company to help you.
The second step can only be done after the city has approved your plans. You will need a general contractor to help you with your solution. If you are having a hard time finding a company, contact Retrofit1. They will help you get what you need and nothing you don’t.
The third step is to notify your tenants of the construction. You should do this as soon as you find out you must. You do not want to wait until the damage is done.