Building peace of mind, one building at a time.
Thanks to Julian Construction, there will be another earthquake retrofitted building in the city. Julian De La Torre’s company has started a soft-story earthquake retrofit on the 1800 block of South Victoria Ave. in Los Angeles.
Structures, like the one pictured below, are more vulnerable to damage and collapse during an earthquake if the property has not been properly retrofitted.
Buildings most at risk are those that were built before January 1st, 1978 when safer building codes were introduced. Generally, these properties will have a lower level parking garage or a similar open floor space (called a soft-story) below the structure.
A soft-story building is characteristically defined as a multi-story structure with a susceptible first floor. The structure is more vulnerable when there are large windows and doors surrounding the perimeter of the space or areas inside.
Unfortunately, soft-story structures are still quite common in Los Angeles — it’s estimated that tens of thousands of soft-story buildings remain throughout the city. Usually, they can be found in apartment buildings or retail spaces that have been built on top of parking garages.
Other soft-story buildings can resemble office buildings with large ground floor lobbies and street level retail stores with large windows and entryways.
“Past earthquakes have demonstrated that soft story buildings are particularly vulnerable to severe damage or collapse in a major earthquake relative to other building types,” the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California ( http://www.seaonc.org/soft-story-faq#3 ) reports. “Collapse itself poses a safety risk to occupants.”
Besides the damage that’s incurred when a building collapses, these disasters can also ignite fires which pose major safety risks to occupants and neighboring buildings.
As most Angelinos know, L.A. remains at extreme risk for earthquakes due to the San Andreas and the San Jacinto fault lines which run below the city (link http://www.latimes.com/science/la-me-quake-risk-20160317-story.html).
Most soft-story structures are not built to withstand the lateral movement of an earthquake. But, thanks to the retrofitting work of Julian Construction, soft-story buildings can be remedied with a retrofit to minimize the damage that a property and it’s occupants could sustain during a major disaster.
If you’re concerned your building could be a soft-story structure, contact Julian Construction for an inspection.
Julian De La Torre is a trusted expert in foundation repair, house leveling and foundation inspection. De La Torre’s company, Julian Construction ( http://www.julianconstruction.com ), has inspected over 15,000 structures in Los Angeles alone, working alongside engineering firms and local departments of building & safety.