In some of our previous blogs (see links at the end of this page) we discussed the requirements of the City of Los Angeles’ Soft Story Retrofit Program, which identified buildings vulnerable to structural failure both during and after an earthquake. In this new blog, we discuss the important function of the City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (“LADBS”), which administers compliance with the City’s Soft Story Retrofit Program.
The Role of the LADBS
The LADBS is the City government’s entity responsible for issuing construction permits, including but not limited to, soft story, foundation replacement, foundation bolting, Earthquake Bolt & Brace (“EBB”), retaining walls, caisson, plumbing, electrical, elevator, heating, and air-conditioning permits. Both homeowners and commercial property owners seeking to construct, repair, or alter buildings within the City of Los Angeles may be required to obtain a permit from the LADBS.
After obtaining a permit and beginning construction work, the LADBS also requires that inspections take place before any work is covered or concealed. Any such permitted work will not be approved by the LADBS until it has been inspected and approved by the LADBS’ inspection staff. Finally, the LADBS code enforcement professionals work actively to enforce the City of Los Angeles’ applicable ordinances and land use regulations.
The LADBS and the City’s “Soft Story” Retrofit Program
Of note for owners / landlords of “Soft Story” retrofitting Los Angeles buildings, the LADBS is responsible for ensuring compliance with the City’s mandatory retrofit program, which requires the owners of Soft Story buildings to comply with City Ordinances 183893 and 184081 and retrofit such buildings within a specific timeframe.
The goal of the City’s mandatory retrofit program is to reduce the structural deficiencies of specifically identified buildings in an economical way. Those buildings that were deemed most vulnerable have the following attributes:
- Consist of two or more stories of wood frame construction
- Built under code standards enacted before January 1, 1978 and
- Contain ground floor parking or other similar open floor spaces.
Note that the retrofit program does not apply to residential buildings with three or fewer units. To verify if your building is within the scope of the Program, you can refer to the LADBS Permit & Inspection Report.
For general information, the LADBS maintains an excellent Internet website where individuals can apply for permits, submit plans, schedule an inspection, check permit status, and much, much more. The LADBS also publishes a “Home Owners Guide” which is a useful document that provides valuable information about the process of obtaining permits and inspections.
The Soft Story contractors at Weinstein Construction are experts at Soft Story retrofits and in working with the paperwork requirements of the LADBS and the HCIDLA. If you’d like to schedule a free, no-obligation inspection of your Soft Story structure, Call Angela at (800) 862-6582. Be prepared and have peace of mind when the next “Big One” hits!
Other Weinstein Construction blogs on Soft Story Retrofits and the Requirements of the City of Los Angeles can be found below: