Soft story buildings are prone to earthquakes and could result in substantial loss of lives, profits, and investments. Therefore, soft story retrofitting is crucial.
In case of strong sideways motion during an earthquake, the weak supports in the “soft” levels could easily collapse. This can lead the upper stories to fall onto the lower ones.
In 1994, the same kind of collapse was induced by an earthquake that devastated Northridge. Over 20,000 soft-story properties were completely destroyed by that earthquake and a total of 33 people lost their lives.
That alone should be reason enough to get soft story retrofitting complete ASAP. But here are some more reasons for your benefit:
It is the law
In October 2015, the Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the historic earthquake retrofit ordinance into law to ensure appropriate measures are taken to strengthen LA’s most vulnerable buildings.
This ordinance makes it mandatory to retrofit two kinds of buildings in LA:
- Fragile (non-ductile reinforced) concrete buildings
- Soft story buildings that were constructed before 1980
Soft story buildings are buildings with wood frames with large open spaces on the first level for things like garage doors, tuck-under parking lots, and even display windows for retail stores.
It saves you money
Retrofitting your building before it becomes mandatory can save you a lot of money. In some parts of California, soft-story retrofitting has already become a compulsory process. And once it becomes compulsory, you can expect it to become a lot more expensive than it is now.
It minimizes liability losses
If your soft story property collapses during an earthquake, leading to loss of lives, you could end up paying millions of dollars in damages.
Case in point, a jury awarded nearly $2 million in damages to the families of two women who died in a soft-story collapse during a 2003 earthquake in Paso Robles.
It lowers your earthquake insurance premiums
A soft story building that’s been seismic-retrofitted has much lower earthquake insurance premiums. Since you reinforce your property against earthquake damage, your insurance underwriter will probably conclude that you are a low-risk client (i.e. your potential exposure to an earthquake is low).
It increases your property value
According to a survey done by Caltech, the benefit-to-cost ratio of soft story retrofitting could go as high as 7:1.
Considering that most experts believe there is a 99% chance of a huge earthquake happening within the next decade, completing soft story retrofitting now has become more important than ever.
Ready to protect your investment and raise your building value with soft story retrofitting? Call us at 888-690-1561 or get in touch with us here to schedule a free consultation with our quakeproofers today.