Pasadena is about to be a much safer place to live.

The City Council recently passed a new Soft Story ordinance renovation law that would mandate the renovation of older, wood-frame residential buildings that were built between the’ 20s and’ 70s.

Although initially given 5 years to complete the refurbishment of the Soft Story, the Pasadena City Council extended the deadline to 7 years in an attempt to ease the burden of time and costs on the affected building owners.

“We should do this now,” said John Kennedy, a member of the Council, during the city meeting. “This is the social, lawful and correct thing to do,” he said, “the economy will determine the costs of such projects.” The law would apply to all wood-frame or partly wood-frame multi-unit residential buildings with four or more units in each structure. Such buildings must be two or more floors, with an open floor for parking or similar open spaces.

There are approximately 472 wood-framed Soft Story buildings in Pasadena and approximately 4,500 units will be affected.

Pasadena is following in the footsteps of jurisdictions like Los Angeles, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and San Francisco in demanding the renovation of vulnerable Soft Story structures.

“The overarching objective of the proposed order is to increase the safety of the City’s inventory of residential buildings,” the report stated.

In addition to safety considerations, the development of the proposed regulations also considered the cost and timing of retrofits, possible relocation of tenants during repairs, loss of parking spaces or other deviations from the zoning standards resulting from retrofits, and financial assistance to property owners.’ While the cost of retrofitting these buildings will vary from structure to structure.

Retrofitting these vulnerable Soft Story structures is extremely important to keep residents safe during an earthquake and to reduce the damage and destruction that may be caused during a major earthquake.

Damage estimates from several recent earthquakes have shown that, in many cases, almost half of the buildings that collapsed or were severely damaged during the quake were Soft Story structures.

The primary reason for the failure of the Soft Story is the inability of the building to withstand the side-to-side push that may arise from the earthquake. Once the weaker first floor has destabilized, the remaining floors will begin to collapse.

At the end of the day, the purpose of retrofitting earthquakes is to stabilize the structure so that it can withstand lateral movement and retain its structural integrity.

If you own a Soft Story structure that hasn’t been retrofitted, we’re going to inspect your property and come up with a plan to get the earthquake ready.

Weinstein Design, pioneer in Los Angeles Foundation Reparation, House Leveling & Foundation Inspection (Los Angeles) and founder of Weinstein Construction in Los Angeles, has surveyed more than 15,000 buildings, partnering with engineering firms and municipal design and safety agencies. Over the last five years, the company has done more home foundation repair and Soft Story retrofitting (Los Angeles) than any other company in the area.  800-862-6582 Call Now!