Renovation, refurbishment and refurbishment of existing buildings are an opportunity to improve the energy performance of commercial building assets over their lifetime. Retrofits often involve modifications to existing commercial buildings that can improve energy efficiency or reduce energy demand. In addition, retrofits are often used as an appropriate time to implement distributed generation in a house. Energy efficiency retrofits can reduce operating costs, particularly in older buildings, as well as help attract tenants and gain a market edge.

Benefits of retrofitting 1. This is the law.

The law, signed in October by Mayor Eric Garcetti, encompasses decades of effort to reinforce two styles of old buildings that have proven deadly in past earthquakes: fragile concrete buildings lined with the main boulevards of L.A. and wood-frame apartment complexes with poor first floors. Approximately 65 people died when these types of buildings collapsed during quakes in 1971 and 1994.

2. Minimize liability claims You may be liable for damages worth millions of dollars if your Soft Story building collapses during an earthquake and causes injury or death to occupants or innocent bystanders. This has already happened in Paso Robles, where the jury awarded almost $2 million in damages to the families of two women killed in a Soft Story collapsing during the 2003 earthquake.

Earthquake scientists predict that there will be 99.9 percent chance of a 7-magnitude quake hitting Los Angeles in the next decade or so. If this earthquake struck before you had a chance to refurbish your residential or commercial house, many lives could be lost and massive property damage could result. Because Los Angeles codes claim that building owners are responsible for any loss of life and damage to property within their buildings, you may end up facing massive losses of liability.

One may, of course, argue that there is insurance to protect the owner of the building from liability in the event that his or her building collapses during the earthquake and harms the property of the tenants. Even so, doesn’t it make sense to retrofit and thus avoid major losses instead of just hoping for the worst and instead depending on insurers to make things right?

In the midst of post-earthquake chaos, with building owners clamoring for insurance coverage right after the quake, you’d be very glad you decided to upgrade.

3. Save time Save cash by retrofitting the Soft Story before it becomes necessary. When Soft Story retrofits are mandatory (as is already the case in some areas of California), expect Soft Story retrofitting rates to be much higher than they are now.

4. Higher earthquake insurance premiums When you rebuild your Soft Story building, the higher your earthquake insurance premiums are likely to be. The earthquake insurance underwriter will probably decide that you have low potential risks (i.e. that you are a low-risk client) because your building has been fortified to protect you from earthquake damage.

5. Interest savings A mortgage to a Soft Story building is likely to have a higher interest rate than a loan to a fully constructed building. It’s a simple logic. Structurally sound buildings provide good collateral, while structurally weak buildings pose a major risk to the lender. Which happens if the earthquake demolishes or severely damages the house before the loan is paid off? The lender is left with a worthless (or almost worthless) piece of property as security.

6. Attract tenants Building owners are required by law to report the seismic risk of their buildings to prospective tenants— so if you don’t retrofit, you could scare tenants away. On the other side, if you update, the fact that your building has been retrofitted may be used as an additional marketing / selling point. You could also demand higher rental prices. It’s all about ROI in the end.

7. Increase property value According to Caltech’s survey, the benefit-to-cost ratio of a Soft Story retrofit could be as much as 7:1—and since there’s a 99 percent chance of a big quake going on in the next 10 years— you really should get your Soft Stories retrofitted NOW.

Steps to Retrofit Your Apartment Building Understanding Seismic Retrofit Mandate Partnering with Design Professionals Submitting Building Plans With Right Retrofit Product Solutions Communicating with Your Building Tenants Completing Your Soft-Story Retrofit To get started today or for more information, please contact us today to schedule a FREE on-site inspection by our team.