Los Angeles soft-story retrofit program was created 5 years ago. At first, the program seemed was moving along as planned, however recently many Structural Engineers reported about LA soft-story retrofit program complications. Many unforeseen circumstances come from the wording used in the retrofit ordinances and some of them are because of certain retrofit companies, that are misusing CCS (Cantilevered Column Systems). The majority of these problems are more common in apartment retrofits.
How CCS Affects Retrofit?
Cantilever columns were made for soft-story buildings having hard areas to retrofit, for example, narrow or irregular areas. During the last two years, more companies are using them as a first solution, especially during LA apartment retrofitting. So how CSS affect retrofit? - Many retrofit plans brought to us by the customers are mostly focused on CSS. In many cases, the plans do not take into consideration the weakened wood-frame art of those vulnerable structures.
Another common issue is when performing an initial assessment of a structure we find many apartment complexes that have nor be maintained properly. Also, note that a complete retrofit of the structure will require more than just the use of cantilever columns, in case, water, termite or dry-rot damage has occurred in the area. One of the issues that are quite common is with rent-controlled properties. Some of these apartment owners just do not want to spend time and money on their mandatory retrofits.
However, not replacing or reinforcing the damaged wood-frames will cost more money in repairs during the next major seismic activities.
Army Of Builders team put a lot of detail and time into designing the best plan for your building and by using a combination of CSS and wood-frame mounts, so your structures and your tenants will be safer when a seismic event occurs again.
Cheaper Costs' Consequences
Through the Los Angeles soft-story retrofit program, which is only 5 years old, it is ok that some mistakes will be made. This is a new industry and new retrofitting companies are appearing out of nowhere it would seem. Some companies are bringing in customers by offering them cheaper construction costs but have you ever thought about the cheaper costs’ consequences? While many property owners are trying to save money with the retrofits, it is necessary to remember you get what you pay for.
Seismic retrofitting companies and established engineers tend to follow the mindset of how to make the structure more resistant and not just how to get the job done with the least amount of costs. Most of the new companies are offering cheaper costs to the owners, trying to misuse the cantilever column systems for retrofitting. It does not matter how incredibly are strong those steel columns, if the wood components around them are not reinforced properly, they can cause even more damage to a building during an earthquake. When hiring a contracting company for your retrofit you need to be very careful, just because a company quotes ou a cheaper price does not mean they are the best company for you to work with.
How To Find Experts?
The real experts on seismic retrofit are considered the members of the SEAOSC (Structural Engineers Association of Southern California). Home and property owners, unfortunately, do not know about this and are still asking how to find experts.
SEAOSC engineers should be the only ones drafting retrofit plans but with so much competition in this industry, prices have dropped significantly, so the engineers only focus on large projects now. By the way, so many municipal projects that require technical expertise, such as Los Angeles City Hall, are retrofitted by them as well.
Of course, that does not mean that there are no experts to help you, for our team of trained engineers and contractors are always ready to perform quality soft-story retrofits throughout the Los Angeles area.
The Results Of Retrofit Complications
The Los Angeles soft-story program aims to prevent the loss of human lives during a seismic event by making buildings safer. Second, to lessen the resilience of the city so that after an earthquake the city can get back to normal quickly. On the mandatory retrofit, the list is 150K soft-story apartments. If these complexes are not reinforced property, they could collapse in a major earthquake and all of those residents will be left homeless. Also, the owners will be out of the rent money and left with huge costs in repairs.
As most California residents know, it is just a matter of time until the next large earthquake will roll through the San Fernando Valley. If these apartment complexes are nor retrofitted properly, it is the residents who will be hit the hardest.
Poorly Contracted Retrofits
Many of these flawed design plans, in other words poorly contracted retrofits are approved by the city as long as they meet the requirement in the ordinance wording. But, that is not to say that they meet the requirements of the existing structure. If the apartment collapses during an earthquake or after an earthquake, never think the city will be liable for the damages. Not the cheaper design company and not an engineer will not be held responsible for the consequences of poorly contracted retrofits. Almost, in every case, the property owner is liable since you hired the company to perform the construction. The need to hire a qualified and professional company for your LA soft-story retrofit is a priority.
Retrofit Companies Los Angeles
If you still have not found a company for your retrofit project, the Army of Builders’ whole team is ready to corporate with you. Not only the deadlines for the LA soft-story retrofit program quickly approaching, but no one knows when the next major earthquake is likely to occur.
Since the seismic program was rolled out in 2015, hundreds of retrofit companies have appeared in this field all over the city. But when it comes to hire one for your property, take time to do researches on any retrofit company you will be thinking to hire for your property. Learn more about LA soft-story retrofit companies in our other article.
Getting your property ready for a big earthquake must be at the top of your preparedness list - an earthquake retrofit can also save you hundreds of dollars in repairs later and save human lives which is the most important point in the story for sure.