The City of Los Angeles appears to be gaining the necessary political push to finally address the seismic hazards associated with multifamily apartment buildings with a Soft Story. The City has approved the funding for what is referred to in the City of San Francisco as the “Earthquake Zsar”. Upon approval by the Mayor, the City will perform a formal inventory of the Soft Story buildings in the City of Los Angeles, working off the data already obtained from a previous study. The aim of the building inventory is to identify at-risk buildings that would benefit from a Seismic Retrofit and Structural Rehabilitation Design.
Wood frame buildings with a soft story, constructed prior to 1978, with three or more floors, and more than 5 units are already subject to mandatory seismic retrofit law in the City of San Francisco. Los Angeles will be close behind if the political backing holds strong.
Read more about LA City Council’s latest efforts towards improving its buildings’ seismic resilience here.
The City of Santa Monica is embarking on a three-phase seismic program. Santa Monica has always been proactive with respect to seismic safety and managing seismic risk, drawing mainly from lessons in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The City required mandatory seismic retrofits for structures such as un-reinforced masonry buildings (established in 1999). But recently the City has learned that the success of this program was mixed, and many of the buildings thought to have undergone a seismic retrofit actually did not.