Why Are Cities Still Ignoring The Danger That Earthquakes Pose?

In January of 2019, The Los Angeles Times published an article that detailed just how many of today’sbig cities are at risk from the increasing threat of seismic activity–or as it’s more commonly referred toas,earthquakes. It seems as though with the passing of each year, earthquakes in America’s biggestcities like LA and San Francisco become more and more susceptible to increased seismic activities–many of which grow stronger and stronger with every after shock.The article opens up with the Northridge earthquake: “The Northridge earthquake that hit 25 years agooffered alarming evidence of how vulnerable many types of buildings are to collapse from majorshaking. It topped hundreds of apartments, smashed brittle concrete structures, and tore apart brickbuildings.”And in the years since,some cities have taken action to force building owners into compliance withearthquake protection rules and regulations, but still, many cities have ignored the threat and have yetto mandate building owners to do anything to ensure the seismic performance of their structures.

So, What Happens Next?

Some cities, like Los Angeles, have taken comprehensive action to ensure that the city’s buildings areretrofitted to increase their earthquake protection. Mayor Eric Garcetti was instrumental in authoring themost comprehensive earthquake retrofit law in the nation, which requires upwards of 15,000 buildingsto be retrofitted to increase their seismic performance. And since then, San Francisco has joined in withLA and is also mandating large swaths of the city’s buildings to retrofit and become compliant with newrules and regulations.

What Exactly Is Retrofitting & How Can It Help Improve Seismic Performance?

Retrofits are comprehensive construction projects that are designed to assess a building’s currentseismic performance. Things like structural integrity, the foundation, and eventorque are measured todetermine how likely a building is to collapse or topple during a seismic event.Things like soft-story retrofits exist to help ensure that soft-story buildings–something that cities like LAhave a ton of–are also protected against the threat of an earthquake. These types of retrofits aredesigned to strengthen the first story, or the soft-story, to ensure that we can improve the building’sseismic performance dramatically. And while the upper stories may still be considered weak from anengineering standpoint, a soft-story retrofit is meant to strengthen the weakest link in the structure first,and it has been proven that these retrofits can increase the earthquake protection and seismicperformance of a building dramatically.Army of Builders Is Leading The WayHere at Army of Builders, our in-house engineering team works directly with our team of builders toensure that we retrofit upgrade any building, whether it be a home or a soft-story building, so that it canremain safe from a devastating earthquake. And in the city of Los Angeles, we’re proud to lead the wayto ensure that every building complies with the sweeping new rules and regulations designed to savetime, money, and lives.