Whether you have commercial buildings in California or another earthquake-ridden state, its time to start thinking about commercial seismic retrofits! In the simplest of terms, a commercial seismic retrofit is a modification to a pre-existing building in order to make it more resistant to earthquakes and aftershocks – and anyone that has a building that is not earthquake-safe can benefit from it.
The Past vs The Present
A lot of research has been done on pre-existing structures that were erected in the past. Unfortunately, sometimes this research can only be done in the wake of previous earthquakes and the damage and injuries they caused. Past earthquake damage has demonstrated which kinds of buildings stand up best to an earthquake, and which ones simply aren’t safe to use anymore. Prior to the 1960s, building codes were a little slacker, and buildings that were designed and constructed did not use reinforced structures or strong materials in these buildings.
Apartment complexes can cause the biggest dangers in the event of an earthquake. Need proof of just how big of a difference a commercial seismic retrofit can make? Look at the Northridge Earthquake in 1994. Many soft-story apartment complexes collapsed, causing the highest death toll of any kind of building in the area.
Unreinforced Masonry Structures
Also called URM, these buildings tend to be made and constructed of brittle materials like red brick, hollow clay, adobe, tiles or even concrete. These are some of the most common and dangerous materials to use in a building, not because they’re weak, but because they’re rigid and don’t adapt to movement. By strengthening the building with a commercial seismic retrofit and adding things like wall braces, anchors, and shear walls, these buildings become safer to live in and work in.
Tilt-up buildings are more commonly seen in industrial buildings. These types of buildings are particularly dangerous because they have numerous structural weaknesses – specifically the roof to wall connections and continuity ties.
Office buildings can be a stressful type of building for a commercial property owner. While you don’t have people living in these types of buildings, you might have a few tomany people under the roof working as employees.
If you think you need a commercial seismic retrofit or you simply want more information contact Saunders Seismic today.