Older buildings throughout California are vulnerable to extensive damage from seismic ground shaking. All jurisdictions allow voluntary structural strengthening (earthquake retrofitting), and some have mandatory programs. Buildings erected before 1978, when stricter structural design standards were adopted by the state, are more susceptible to earthquake damage. While some jurisdictions have adopted minimum design standards for earthquake retrofitting, building owners may generally choose any prescriptive (“cook book”) or performance (engineered) structural standard for retrofitting their buildings.
Is my property considered a “Soft-Story” Building?
1. Determine if your building is a soft-story. Multi-unit wood-frame buildings with more than 80% open area on one first floor wall or more than 50% on two adjacent walls are considered weak-story buildings.
2. Verify with your city’s department of building and safety regarding the following:
• Your building is on the list of mandatory ordinance to retrofit program for soft-story buildings
• Important deadlines regarding submitting documentation, permits, construction completion and certificates of compliance
• Additional information on city programs that might be available to help building owners. If for any reason you believe that your building is not a soft-story, we may be able to challenge and remove from city’s list.
3. Have our Structural Engineer survey and assess your soft-story building according to the requirements of the city’s retrofit ordinances.
4. If our Structural Engineer determines a retrofit is needed, He will design the most efficient plan and submit plans for your building’s retrofit to the city’s department of building and safety including:
• Previous retrofit work
• Structural analysis/calculation package
• Structural plans
5. Once plans are finalized and a permit is issued through city, our company will:
• Begin work installing all structural and seismic components and material per plan to retrofit your building bringing it up to code.
• Make sure all inspections are passed and finalize work through the city completing your retrofit process.
After certificate of completion is issued, Retro Experts will file, on your behalf, all cost recovery documents. (Optional).
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