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Soft Story Retrofit Cost

soft-story retrofit costs

Asking how much does soft-story retrofit cost is the most common question among property owners. The actual price might be different depending on the methods of construction, engineering, location, and size of the property and the answer to the most actual question is - on average $42,000 to $115,000.
In 2015, when the retrofit ordinance became Law, construction costs were quite complicated to determine and calculate. However, now more than 2000 buildings have been retrofitted in the City of Los Angeles and the construction costs are now easier to determine.

This article will help you understand better how much you may be required to pay for your soft-story retrofit project.
Note, that all the calculations are averages and can not be determined properly unless initial inspections are performed by retrofitting services, as long as each building is unique and each of them has its requirements and needs.


How To Determine The Costs

When the city of Los Angeles announced its new soft-story retrofit program, the property owners mostly were upset about the unnecessary cost coming out of their pockets. When the first initial assessments were started to be done by Los Angeles Soft-Story Retrofit companies the first thing that property owners wanted to know is “How to determine the costs and how much is the average prices for retrofitting?”. As long as earthquake retrofitting was in its early phases, at the start of the program most retrofitting companies could not give a concrete answer to these questions.

Over 10,000 soft-story retrofits have been performed so far, and determining the price for your retrofit is easier now than before. Anyway, the final cost still depends on a variety of factors, that has not changed. However, providing you with an answer at the time of the first inspection can now be done with a reasonable amount of confidence. Although it is sometimes impossible to avoid unexpected complications during the jobs which may affect the cost.

Mitigating the cost for Retrofit

One of the best ways for mitigating the cost for retrofit is to hire a qualified engineer who specializes in soft-story retrofits. Most of the soft-story retrofit companies in the city of Los Angeles have a professional engineer on their staff. This helps to keep costs lower for you will not have to pay for another structural engineer of the fees charged by the company you pick. A professional engineer works to minimize unexpected extra jobs during the construction however it is possible.
Once a client hires a retrofit company, their engineer will work with you to design the best retrofit for the client’s property. The engineer will make a solution with labor-reducing strategies and of the strategies may be implementing construction methods that are more affordable than, for example, moment frames. They should explore in detail the connection points to see what is existing and what is required to be replaced. There is also another economy type strategy: avoiding welding moment frames as much as it is possible.

Factors to Consider

Getting more than one bid for any retrofitting job is a Law. But whenever it comes to pick the contractor to hire, do not you just focus on the lowest price. You need to concentrate on the individuals and the services that the company has to offer. Too many people look at construction as a commodity service and this viewpoint often causes disappointment so there are factors to consider before starting up any construction work.

The soft-story retrofitting, and the construction industry itself is full of competent professionals. But like any kind of industry, many companies do not meet current standards and rules of competence and professionalism.

Before the corporation, you should:

  • Take a look at the company’s website

  • Find out how many jobs have they completed, especially the jobs similar to yours

  • How long they have been in the present industry

  • What processes they have in place to execute such types of projects

  • Try to find reviews from other customers.

earthquake damaged soft-story buildings

Earthquake Retrofitting

Earthquake retrofitting is a variety of buildings that had been build before. The earthquake or seismic retrofitting purpose is to make the pointed structures more resistant to the seismic ground shakings. Due to the recent experiences with frequently encountered earthquakes, seismic retrofitting keeps on spreading its importance on buildings.

Earthquake engineers aim to construct structures that can avoid serious, large damages or collapses during earthquakes events and this is a separate scientific field connected with the natural environment, protecting society and man-made surroundings from earthquakes lessening the seismic risk to socio-economically accepted levels.

Techniques And Strategies

Earthquake Retrofitting Techniques and Strategies are required for constructions that are vulnerable to damage and failures by seismic forces. In the past 30 years, moderate to severe earthquakes occur around the world every year. There are several exact categories of retrofitting techniques:

  • External post-tensioning

  • Base isolators

  • Supplementary dampers

  • Tuned mass dampers

  • Slosh tank

need details about retrofitting techniques?
Seismic retrofit strategies are made within the past several decades following the availability of advanced materials and the introduction of new seismic provisions.

  • Increasing global capacity. This is done by the new structural walls or the addition of cross braces

  • Selective weakening retrofit. This is a strategy that does not happen in a way someone would expect it to and it changes the non-flexible mechanism of the structure while recognizing the inherent capacity of the structure

  • Accepting sliding connections, for example, passageway bridges to accommodate additional motion between seismically independent structures and more.