Mayor Eric Garcetti Urging Earthquake Retrofits Before “Big One” Hits Los Angeles

earthquake damage

Mexico’s two massive earthquakes – less than just two weeks apart – has sent shockwaves throughout residents and local officials in California.

So much so, that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is urging governments and local building owners throughout California to get all structures up to seismic safety code as soon as possible.

After the devastating 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck just outside of Mexico City, several buildings collapsed to the ground – and the destruction was captured on video.

“Any building owner who thinks they should sit back and relax for the next 20 years should view that video,” Garcetti said in a statement, as he urged local building owners to get their properties retrofitted. “And let’s figure out a way to get to work now.”

“What’s more expensive, the loss of your entire property – let alone the loss of lives – or the investment in making sure that no earthquake of that size will destroy your building or kill anyone?” he asked.

According to structural engineers, the main reason those buildings collapsed in Mexico was because they were constructed with “brittle concrete” and had not been properly retrofitted for seismic safety. Luckily, Los Angeles has slowly but surely started to retrofit buildings throughout the county, thanks to legislation Garcetti proposed in 2015.

The law requires that concrete building owners have 25 years to retrofit their properties, while wooden apartment building owners must have their structures retrofitted in 7 years.

But, with Mexico’s two 7 magnitude and higher earthquakes, in addition to the 6.1 earthquake that shook Japan last week, Garceti is asking building owners to take action now.

“Looking at those horrific images and seeing the tragic consequence reminded me of our No. 1 responsibility to save lives and not just try to calculate a dollar amount of, ‘too much,’ to save a life,” he stressed. “That said, it also makes me uneasy thinking of the 25 years – we picked the compromise of … putting a mandate that’s very strong, and we were very flexible about the timeline.”

Santa Monica has gone even one step further than Los Angeles, requiring the retrofit of all vulnerable steel-frame structures throughout the city.

“If the biggest city in the state can do this, then you can do it, too, in your own backyard,” he urged other California residents.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to be proactive about earthquake preparation and safety.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.