It has been said that “soft-story” buildings are a severe earthquake hazard. If history tells us anything, it’s that these buildings must be retrofit as soon as possible. If the lateral movement during an earthquake is particularly strong, the fragile foundation in the soft floors could crumble like a house of cards. This will lead the upper stories to collapse onto the lower levels, crushing everything – people and property – on these lower levels. Here’s why soft story retrofit is so crucial for vulnerable buildings:
It minimizes your liability losses
If your soft story building caves in during an earthquake, you could be liable for millions of dollars in damages.
And it won’t be unprecedented either; a jury awarded nearly $2 million in damages to the families of two women who were killed when the soft-story building they were in, collapsed during the 2003 earthquake.
If the earthquake hits before you could have your vulnerable building retrofitted, lives could be lost and significant property could be damaged beyond repair.
Also, building owners are liable for damage to property within their buildings as well as any loss of life. This means you could end up paying millions in damages, whether you’re insured or not.
It minimizes your earthquake insurance premiums
Retrofitting your soft-story building considerably lowers the earthquake insurance premiums as well. Your insurance underwriter will most likely decide that you are a low-risk client because your building has been fortified against potential earthquakes.
It saves you money on interest
It’s no surprise that a loan on a soft story building tends to have a higher interest rate.
Buildings that are structurally strong make good collateral and weak buildings present a substantial risk to the lender.
Lenders wonder if an earthquake destroys or severely damages the property before the loan’s last payment? Then they would have in their possession a property that’s worthless as security.
It attracts tenants
The law states that all the building owners must disclose their property’s seismic vulnerability to potential tenants.
Nobody wants to live in a building that could easily give way on top of them from an earthquake.
On the other hand, if you retrofit, you could demand higher rent prices.
Get your soft story building retrofit done today
It’s high time you protected your investment and raised your property value. Get in touch with us or call us at 888-609-4876 today to set up a free consultation.