Soft Story Seismic Retrofitting

Soft Story Seismic Retrofitting in Los Angeles & Surrounds

Authors: 04/08/2018, Gordon Myers and Nikhil Choudhary

From past earthquakes, multi-story buildings with weak and/or open front wall lines creating a “soft-story” performed poorly and collapsed. The goal of the mandatory retrofit program, under Ordinance 183893 and Ordinance 184081, is to reduce structural deficiencies by the most economical and feasible method.

Buildings that are most vulnerable have been identified with the following criteria:

Consist of 2 or more stories wood frame construction
Built under building code standards enacted before January 1, 1978 Contains ground floor parking or another similar open floor space

The program does not apply to residential buildings with 3 or less units. Each property owner of these buildings will be sent an order to comply.

Before you think about what to do, consider creating the best possible experience by knowing which questions to ask under any circumstances. One new fact learnt can change the whole outcome.

The objective is to avoid a potential waste of time and money by sound preparation and surrounding oneself with “the right people at the right time!”

How do I know if I have a soft story?

Letters were mailed by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (see chart below) to owners considered to be a “soft story” buildings.     Click here to read the full report.

Posted on May 2, 2018 at 1:23 am
Gordon Myers | Posted in CA EARTHQUAKES |

Are You Really Ready for the Next Big California Earthquake?

No one can predict when or where it will happen. Video of Napa’s 6.1 quake from 2014 reminds all of us to make preparations now.

Falling debris, power outages, ruptured pipes, and fires are just a few of the catastrophic things that can happen following a large earthquake. How prepared is your family?

Temblors occur on a daily basis in this state. They are a sobering reminder to Californians that large earthquakes could happen at any moment, and we need to be ready to take care of ourselves for several days following a disaster.

October 17, 2014 marked 25 years since the Loma Prieta earthquake struck Northern California. Bay Area residents will never forget the harrowing 6.9 magnitude quake that claimed 63 lives. Those not living in the area witnessed the event on television when the 15-second quake struck at 5:04 p.m. during the airing of the 1989 World Series.

Northern California residents were recently reminded of Loma Prieta when a 6.1 magnitude quake struck American Canyon in the North Bay Area during the early morning hours on Aug. 24, 2014. The devastating quake caused severe damage to buildings, homes, and infrastructure.

Or view more here: Stay Safe: Everything You Need To Know In An Emergency Is Now A Tap Away regarding an awesome app from the Red Cross.

What about your pets? Pets need disaster kits equipped with food, water, and medication.

Posted on February 16, 2018 at 5:58 pm
Gordon Myers | Posted in CA EARTHQUAKES | Tagged

California in Seismic Drought But Big Earthquake Coming, Professor Says

California is long overdue for an earthquake with a magnitude larger than 7 but one will come soon, says a university professor.

CALIFORNIA — California is long overdue for an earthquake with a magnitude larger than 7 but one will come soon, said a Colorado State University professor. Richard Aster, a professor of geophysics, wrote this week that the state has been in an “earthquake drought” for years with the last earthquake greater than a magnitude of 7.0 happening in 1906 in San Francisco.

The so-called drought is more serious than most people realize, Aster wrote for

“The earthquake situation in California is actually more dire than people who aren’t seismologists like myself may realize,” Aster wrote. “Multiple segments of the expansive San Andreas Fault system are now sufficiently stressed to produce large and damaging events.”

Aster explained that the San Francisco earthquake, which killed roughly 3,000 people, was the last shake that was more than 7 in magnitude. The result is that “strands of the fault system accumulate stresses that correspond to a seismic slip of millimeters to centimeters.”

“Eventually, these stresses will be released suddenly in earthquakes,” Aster wrote. “Reflecting this deficit, the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast estimates that there is a 93 percent probability of a 7.0 or larger earthquake occurring in the Golden State region by 2045, with the highest probabilities occurring along the San Andreas Fault system.”

Thankfully, California’s government has made headway in improving infrastructure and planning. Those efforts will be tested when the big one hits, Aster wrote.

“As California prepares for large earthquakes after a hiatus of more than a century, the clock is ticking,” Aster wrote.

Here are earthquake preparedness tips from the American Red Cross:

  • Become aware of fire evacuation and earthquake safety plans for all of the buildings you occupy regularly.
  • Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.
  • Practice “drop, cover and hold on” in each safe place. If you do not have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
  • Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed in case the earthquake strikes in the middle of the night.
  • Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation.
  • Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs.
  • Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.
  • Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.
  • Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
  • Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.
  • Learn about your area’s seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin new construction. Keep and maintain an emergency supplies kit in an easy-to-access location.

Posted on February 5, 2018 at 7:57 pm
Gordon Myers | Posted in CA EARTHQUAKES |