California’s Seismic Retrofit Regulations

In California, earthquake risk is high. In order to minimize damage and death caused by earthquakes, some California cities require  seismic retrofitting to older buildings. Los Angeles is home to the nation’s most stringent regulations in earthquake safety. Seismic retrofitting is now required for both wood-frame soft-story structures, and non-ductile concrete buildings.

Over the past 30-odd years we have seen numerous earthquakes around the world every single day. These earthquakes lead to damage (and complete collapse) due to failures within the building’s structure.

The whole point to a seismic retrofit is to improve the life safety and construction of a building. Not only does a seismic retrofit make the building safer and stronger, but it also adds support techniques that ensure the structure can take the force of an earthquake and its aftershocks.

How Retrofitting Has Changed over the Years

While seismic retrofit is suitable for any type of building (especially in California,) these techniques are especially important for Non- ductile, tilt-up concrete, masonry brick and wood buildings. Modern technology and building techniques allow us to greatly increase the safety of buildings in earthquake-prone areas. However, older structures don’t have the same protections.

Modern seismic retrofit services are better than they used to be, and also more dependable.

However, with advanced technology, advanced knowledge and expertise are also needed. This isn’t something you can do on your own. Instead, you will need to hire a engineer and a seismic retrofit company to do the planning, design, and installation for your building.

How to Find an Expert for Your Retrofit

In order to find the perfect seismic retrofit company for your project, there should be a few questions you are asking yourself, as well as the companies you interview.

  • Do you really need a retrofit? Is your building unsound or does it contain materials that are considered weak? If it does, you will need a retrofit. Understanding your building’s history and composition, as well as local regulations can help you make an informed decision.
  • What kind of experience, training, and specializations does the retrofitting service offer? General building experience isn’t the same as seismic retrofitting specialization.
  • How long will the project take? For homes and small structures, a retrofit can take as little as a week. However, a large project can take much longer.
  • Who takes care of the permits? You will need a permit for this type of job. However, when Structural engineering company they will obtain all of the permits from state and local authorities. Then the contractor can “pull” the permit.

Is your structure safe against earthquakes? Call Saunders Seismic for more information about earthquake retrofitting that will keep you and your property secure.