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L.A. Retrofit Ordinance

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is preparing a mandatory earthquake retrofit for soft-story buildings and non-ductile concrete structures. The proposed ordinance will require the retrofit of “soft-story” buildings with weak first floors. Typically, this is a two or more story building with first floor carports and slender columns supporting upper floors. “Soft Story” building owners will have 5 years from the time they are notified to make the retrofits.  Retrofitting costs for these types of structures could range from $30,000 to more than $130,000, however, the mayor is proposing incentives for the building owners such as tax breaks and low-interest loans.

The movement is wide spread across California to prepare for “The Big One” which is said will dwarf the 6.7 magnitude 1994 Northridge Earthquake. Surveys are near completion for buildings that will be mandated to be retrofitted, and are expected to reach roughly 13,000 structures. An Ordinance is also planned for the strengthening of some concrete buildings. These concrete buildings typically are under reinforced and built before the 1980. Concrete building owners will have 25 years from the time they are notified to make the required retrofits. “The time for retrofit is now”, states Mayor Garcetti, “Complacency risks lives, one thing we can’t afford to do is wait.”

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