LOS ANGELES ORDINANCE 183893
After a large number of wood-frame, soft story buildings in the greater Los Angeles area were severely damaged by earthquake seismic activity, a city-wide ordinance was passed into law in November 2015, obligating the owners of soft story construction buildings to retrofit them in strict accordance with city retrofitting codes.
The City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (“labds”) has identified buildings* that are most vulnerable to seismic activity, thus requiring a seismic retrofit, as having the following criteria:
- Consist of 2 or more stories of wood frame construction
- Built under building code standards enacted before January 1, 1978 and
- Contains ground floor parking or other similar open floor space.
* Note that the LADBS Soft Story Retrofit Program does not apply to residential buildings with 3 or less units. Owners of larger residential units have orders to comply with the soft story ordinance.
The purpose of the city’s mandatory retrofitting program was to reduce the potential risk of injury and loss of life and property that could result from seismic earthquake activity taking a toll on vulnerable soft story buildings. Without strengthening and retrofitting the construction of such vulnerable buildings, structural failure can occur both during and/or after an earthquake. The LABDS’ seismic retrofit program is one of the nation’s largest movements to promote seismic soft story building safety!
Many Los Angeles property owners and tenants are aware of the soft-story retrofit ordinances in Los Angeles. If you don’t remember, in 2015, the city council approved two construction measures regarding soft-story buildings. The Los Angeles soft-story retrofitting system was revealed shortly after the new policies were approved. The idea behind this is to make sure that when the next earthquake hits, buildings across the city will be structurally sound. So what are the new laws covering and how are they applicable to you?
The first order, 183893, specifies the type of buildings required under the Los Angeles soft-story retrofit system to complete a seismic upgrade. Built before 1978, this list includes wood-framed structures and soft-story buildings. Ordinance 184081 provides the deadline for building owners to complete their retrofit and comply with the compulsory system. The second order has two components depending on whether you intend to retrofit or completely demolish the house.
City officials have compiled a list of all the buildings and structures that they consider as at risk. The city sent a letter to the owners of these buildings notifying them of the compulsory Los Angeles retrofit soft-story programmer. Such letters gave owners seven years in most cases to apply their plans and complete the necessary retrofits. You should have hired a soft-story retrofit contractor now if you got one of these documents. If you haven’t hired one, or don’t know if you need one, don’t worry, we’re here to answer all your questions and make it simple for you to understand the process.