Los Angeles Soft Story Retrofit Companies

Los Angeles Soft-Story Retrofit Companies


Hundreds of, even thousands of properties in Los Angeles, including apartments and commercial buildings have a soft-story condition. Those structures can be required to comply with the Los Angeles Soft-Story Retrofit Companies. There may be people who are not familiar with the term. Soft-story is a term used for describing a building with three and more stories, that are located over a ground level and windows, large doors, commercial spaces, and other openings in a place where shear walls are required for providing stability. 
In 2015, in the city of Los Angeles, passed ordinances establishing mandatory standards for soft-story building, promoting public safety against the next seismic activities.

If your building is affected and must stick to the Los Angeles Soft-Story Retrofit program, you should start the process now, as long as there are many Los Angeles soft-story retrofit companies that provide free estimates of the permit and design. Retrofit specialists, as almost at any company, as well at Army Of Builders will walk through your property to assess the conditions and outlines all the needed information and detailed plan, as well as a step-by-step guide for complying with the ordinance. Learn more about soft-story retrofit inspections and consultations, which are presented by points more detailed.

Retrofitting is Not an Option, it’s the Law

The city of Los Angeles is located in an area where the climate is super nice almost all year long. Some residents, besides the sunny weather, love the abundance of activities and nightlife offered by Los Angeles. However, everyone knows about the critical forecasts for possible earthquakes, that are going to happen anyway. The soft-story retrofit program was originally started in San Francisco in 2013. That program was made to prevent the loss of lives and for better resiliency for the city in the event of a large earthquake. After two years, the city of Los Angeles rolled out its own program. Since then, retrofitting is not an option, it’s the Law and Los Angeles soft-story retrofit companies have been working hard to help the property owners meet the deadlines.

Los Angeles Retrofit Ordinances

The city officials designed two new ordinances - one is for identifying the types of buildings that must complete a mandatory earthquake retrofit under the Soft-Story Retrofit Program:

Ordinance 183893

  • Buildings with a ground floor that contain parking and other open areas.

  • Buildings with four and more residential units.

  • Wood-framed structures that had been built before 1978.

The current ordinance also applies three different main designations:

Priority I - structures with 16 and more residential units.

Priority II - Structures with three and more stories, but contain less than sixteen units.

Priority III - Structures that are not falling within Priority I or II.


The second ordinance refers to the time frame for property owners getting the retrofit done so they will be in compliance with the Soft-Story Retrofit Program. This Ordinance involves two parts: owners who are updating their buildings and owners that are planning on demolishing them: 

Ordinance 184081

  • Submit the analysis in order to show existing compliance

  • The owner should submit a structural analysis during two years for review and approval

  • Submit a structural analysis showing the proposed alternations meeting seismic retrofit requirements. 

Demolition Of The Building

Owners need to submit the following plans within 3.5 years after receiving an order for complying.

Many of the building owners should have received a notice to comply with the city. It can give you seven years after the date of this notice to finish demolish or construction of the building.

If your building meets any of the following descriptions, you will need to retrofit it:

  • If the building has tuck-under parking

  • If the building has tuck-under parking plus three and more stories

  • If the building has tuck-under paring, as well as three or more stories and has more than three units.

LA retrofitting ordinances

Does Every Building Need To Be Retrofitted?

One of the most common questions by property owners is: Does every building need to be retrofitted?
No! Not every building needs to be retrofitted. 
After the major earthquake that attacked in 1994, city officials assessed the damage done instead of finding our what structures were mostly destroyed during seismic events. The city officials found two types of properties that met their criteria: soft-story buildings and non-ductile concrete buildings.

The owners of those types of properties were sent a “notice to comply” letter, informing about the mandatory program and a deadline for completing the work. On the city’s list were over 13.000 apartment complexes. Just as the program was rolled out in 2015, the Soft-Story companies of Los Angeles have been in high demand in order for property owners to meet the 2020 deadlines. According to the current data, only 40% of the soft-story buildings have been retrofitted, and none of the non-ductile buildings are done.

Mandatory Retrofit Programs

After the original mandatory program, which we already talked about in the previous paragraphs, other cities started to roll out their own mandatory retrofit programs.
When the city of LA created its retrofit program, it was the strictest set among the ordinances at the time. However, in 2017, after Santa Monica created its own seismic ordinances, LA now is the second one by its strictness. Santa Monica added more types of buildings to its list of vulnerable structures, as well as shorten the deadlines for the retrofitting works to be done.

Retrofit Companies in Los Angeles

Haven’t you already hired a company for your retrofit project? There is a major disaster forecasted within the next 50 years, and you are now probably will be thinking that there is plenty of time before the event - but the problem is that nobody knows the exact time for that earthquake. So the ‘within’ must have already alerted you. Not only Los Angeles Soft-Story retrofit program is approaching the deadlines, but also humans never can determine when is the next earthquake is likely to happen. 

Hundreds of retrofit companies have popped up all over the city since the seismic program was rolled out in 2015. Always take your time before hiring a service for your property retrofitting. There may definitely be some newcomers who will offer you a great and inexpensive cost but are they able to give a great quality as well? Try to find the reliable one, as long as it is a matter of human life. One of the leading companies if Army of Builders - feel free to learn more about us and our projects.