When the city of Los Angeles rolled out its soft-story retrofit program in 2015, for many property owners it was a senseless hardship. Most of the buildings mostly affected by the new city ordinances are soft-story structures that have tuck-under parking. There are about 150,000 apartment complexes on the list of mandatory retrofits and most owners do not want to invest a lot of money on what they consider to be a burden and they are choosing bare minimum for soft-story retrofit.
Biggest Issues With Property Owners
One of the biggest issues with property owners on the mandated retrofit list is their mindset. After the soft-story retrofit program was designed and rolled out the city issued mandatory litters of compliance to the property owners on their list of at-risk buildings. Most of the owners see their retrofit as a compliance problem and this mindset is getting a big issue for the retrofit program as it causes property owners to only want to complete the bare minimum amount of work needed to meet the city’s ordinances.
Most of the owners are failing to understand that the soft-story retrofit program is not a compliance issue. The Northridge Earthquake in back in 1994, did not just destroy the whole city structures and blocks, but it claimed the lives of sixty LA residents. The reason the city of LA officials implemented the soft-story retrofit program is to prevent future loss of life during seismic activity.
What Is A Seismic Retrofit?
Changing the mindset of property owners does not happen in an hour until they grasp the concept of the situation and know what is a seismic retrofit. There are lots of need to be reminded that the soft-story retrofit program was not made just to punish property owners by the city. The program is important and necessary in all CA cities that are prone to earthquakes. Longtime residents know that a large earthquake can occur at any time and of course without any warning.
Seismic retrofitting is the alterations of structures that had been built before making them resist the movements of seismic activities. Because of the recent experiences with frequently encountered earthquakes in urban areas, seismic retrofitting keeps on spreading its necessity on structures. So the seismic engineers’ (earthquake engineer) function is constructing structures that will be able to avoid serious, large damages or collapse during earthquakes. And earthquake engineering is a scientific area connected with the natural environment, protecting society and also men-made surroundings from earthquakes through reducing the seismic risk to socio-economically allowed levels.
Residents of Los Angeles
Over half of the residents of Los Angeles are renters. To helo change people’s mindset let’s see what your apartment complex means to you and your tenants. As an owner, your apartment building is part of your income. Maybe you have multiple properties as part of your family’s financial portfolio. There are so many owners, that their properties are handed down to them through generations and they are an investment in your and your children’s future.
However, when you have tenants, this is now their home. Their apartment is where their children are born and grow up. Affordable housings are not easy to find in Los Angeles, so if the building is not taken care of, most of your tenants might be left literally homeless. If it were to collapse during an earthquake many of these people would have to leave the city causing a huge economic loss.
Bare Minimum Is Not Enough
When an extremely ill loved one, you simply would not slap a band-aid on them and call it a day. So, the bare minimum is not enough when it comes to your soft-story retrofit. If you only think about cost-efficiency and are only focused on the price of the construction, then you need to think of it as an investment in your future and in the future of your family and children, and of course, about your tenants’ future.
You should find a reputable company offering a comprehensive retrofitting solution based on the requirements of your buildings. Army of Builders specializes in a soft-story retrofit and our team of professionals will help you create the safest and the most affordable solution for you and the people that are living in your building.
Minimum Life Safety Standard
As long as you are a property owner, you must have been aware of the retrofit ordinances, and that the retrofit ordinances require a Minimum Life Safety Standard. The building needs to be retrofitted to prevent total collapse. However, just meeting the minimum requirement means that in case of a large earthquake event, your property can still sustain enough damage to make it unlivable. So, it is your responsibility to do everything you can to save and protect your family’s investment and the legacy along with the lives of the people who live in your building.
Firstly, the right mindset is health and safety first. If you have questions about retrofitting your soft-story building or would just like more information on the process, contact one of AOB professionals today. The staff at the Army Of Builders will guide through the process every step of the way. Our team of specially trained engineers will create a detailed plan for your retrofit that will provide for the safety of your residents while giving you peace of mind.