California’s 1994 Northridge Quake was one of the most devastating earthquakes in history. Property damage totaled $44 million and 33 people died. Many of the buildings that were damaged by the earthquake were soft-story residential buildings — the type of building that may benefit most from a seismic retrofit.
According to researchers at Caltech, California — specifically Los Angeles — has the most soft-story buildings in the nation. Approximately 20,000 California buildings are soft-story, but only around 800 have been retrofitted since 1994. However, a seismic retrofit can offer many benefits for building owners, including:
Lower Insurance Premiums
Let’s be honest: earthquake insurance in California can be a massive expense with little return on investment. An earthquake policy will help if your building is damaged, but you’ll have to pay a hefty sum out of your own pocket first. When your building is retrofitted, not only do you minimize your risk of costly earthquake damages, but you will also be able to lower your earthquake insurance premium.
Safer Buildings = More Business
You may not think that a retrofit has anything to do with your profit margin, but it can. Building safety is a key factor in consumer decision-making today, and new websites allow customers to find out which soft-story buildings have been retrofitted. The people who shop, live, and work in your city will be on the lookout for the safest buildings to support with their business.
Chances Are It Will Become Mandatory
Many cities in California have passed laws requiring building retrofits, and more are sure to follow. If you are required to seek a retrofit for your building, make sure to choose a qualified, experienced company with extensive knowledge of zoning laws and building codes.
If you live in California, Oregon, or Washington and are in need of a building retrofit, visit Saunders Seismic for more information.