One of the most earthquake-prone urban areas in the nation, Los Angeles is likely to be rocked by a major quake in the coming decades. As nervous as it may be, preparing for the big one is part of living in LA. According to the United States Geological Survey, there is a 60 per cent chance that a magnitude 6.7 or higher earthquake will hit the Los Angeles area in the next 30 years; there is also a nearly one-in-three chance that a magnitude 7.5 earthquake will hit the Richter scale.
An important part of this is understanding the risks that you may face in the place that you are likely to be in the next major quake: home. Thousands of homes and apartment buildings are at risk of major damage in Los Angeles, although new rules requiring seismic refurbishment for some of the most vulnerable structures should help mitigate destruction. If you’re wondering how your home will be maintained, valuable resources are available to check the safety of your home. In 2016, the City of Los Angeles released a list of more than 13,000 “soft-story” buildings vulnerable to collapse following a major earthquake.
Soft-story apartment buildings built anywhere between 1950 and 1980 do not comply with modern seismic codes and require seismic refurbishment to withstand earthquakes. This is especially true of buildings that are built near and along fault lines. The California Geological Survey recently identified new faults affecting West Los Angeles and Santa Monica. Any apartment building built before 1980 is likely to be part of the 13,000 soft-story buildings identified by the Department of Building Safety in Los Angeles. This is especially true of any apartment building in West Los Angeles or San Fernando Valley, because these apartments are older and may have been built over fault lines. If you want to know if your building is required to comply with the soft story refurbishment program, you can call us to check if your property is on the list.
Using the website of the Department of Building and Safety, you can easily check whether your building is on that list.
Just enter your address in the search tool and click the “Soft-Story Retrofit Program Information” button once your building information appears. If your building is on the list, you will also be able to see when your landlord has received an order to upgrade the structure or to prove that the necessary repairs have already been made.
In 2015, the Los Angeles City Council adopted one of the most stringent earthquake building rules in the country. Managed by the City Department of Building and Safety, the rules require owners of so-called soft-story buildings to strengthen the structures within seven years.
To get started today or for more information, please contact us today to schedule a FREE on-site inspection by our team of soft-story experts or call us at 888.412.8363