Earthquake Retrofitting For Commercial Buildings

earthquake retrofitting

If you have a business in California, you know how prevalent and destructive earthquakes have been over the years. Thankfully, technology and building practices have adapted to ensure that modern buildings are better able to weather California’s seismic activity (for Life Safety Only). However, structures which were built prior to modern standards and technologies lack the adaptations that keep a structure safe even in an earthquake.

Below, we will be talking about the different buildings that can benefit from earthquake retrofitting, and help you understand how to determine whether a retrofit is appropriate for your situation.

Apartment Complexes and Buildings

Apartment complexes are often built with soft-story designs. This makes the collapse of these buildings more probable if they do not have earthquake retrofitting. In 1994 the Northridge Earthquake left many soft story buildings destroyed. Not only did the destruction cause huge financial losses for landlords and apartment management (sometimes even causing them to go out of business) but it also led to major disruptions and damage for residents. Earthquake retrofitting can help strengthen these buildings for future earthquakes, minimizing damage and injury.

Unreinforced Masonry Structures

Also called URM, these buildings are made from “weak” materials like Red Brick, adobe or even weaker types of brick. The mortar surrounding these materials is not strong enough to resist earthquakes or subsequent seismic shocks. An earthquake retrofitting allows proper anchoring for the roof and walls, as well as the ability to install braces for the building and adding partition walls.

Office Buildings

Not only can it be expensive to have a building go through an earthquake, but it can cause some dangerous situations for the people that work in that building. From sudden collapse to blocked exits, it’s important to examine office buildings to prevent injuries or death. An earthquake retrofitting allows the building to be better designed and built so that it can stand up to an earthquake or other natural disasters.

How Do I Know If I Need a Retrofit?

You’ll know if you need a retrofit:

  • If you were sent notice by the city.
  • If your building was built before the 1996.
  • If your building is on one of the many websites listing buildings that need an earthquake retrofitting.

How Long Does It Take?

The last thing you want is for your building to be closed down due to an Earthquake. The retrofitting process in most cases can be completed while the building is occupied with minimal disruption. Unfortunately giving you an approximation as to how long it will take depends on a few factors, such as the size of the building and the nature of the problem.

If you need an earthquake retrofitting or you want to know more about this service, contact Saunders Seismic for more information.