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Mandatory Earthquake Safety Laws Passed in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is requiring structural analysis of approximately 13,500 soft-story apartment buildings and 1,500 non-ductile concrete buildings. In the event of a large earthquake, these buildings are the most likely to cause injury and even death if they collapse.

Soft story buildings are defined as structures with an open parking or commercial space beneath the structure in which the structure is determined to have been built previous to the 1978 code standards. In the 1994 Northridge earthquake approximately 200 soft-story apartment buildings were destroyed. One soft-story, Northridge Meadows, was the site of sixteen deaths, making that complex the largest concentration of loss of life.

Also affected by the ordinance are non-ductile concrete buildings constructed before 1980 with inadequate steel reinforcing details, system irregularities, and element discontinuities. The city has identified all pre-1980 concrete buildings and only extensive testing will be able to determine which buildings are dangerous during an earthquake. While it may seem obtuse to require extensive testing of a building without proof it will collapse, it is actually quite important that these building vulnerabilities are identified and strengthened because non-ductile concrete buildings can have a high potential for loss of life if they fail.

An in-depth analysis and retrofit can help protect owners from legal claims of neglect if their building is unstable and someone is injured during an earthquake. Benefits of our professional group conducting your retrofit are: years of experience sourcing affordable design practices, techniques for minimizing tenant interference, and knowledge on how to prevent delays through city review and construction.

The structural group at National Engineering & Consulting, Inc. (NEC) has performed hundreds of retrofit projects over the years. Our design team is ready to evaluate your building and determine the best way to adhere to earthquake standards while keeping your project objectives in mind. Call us at (888) 433-4877 to learn more.


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