The goal of the mandatory retrofit program, under Ordinance 183893 and Ordinance 184081 is to reduce structural deficiencies by the most economical and feasible method. Without proper strengthening, these vulnerable buildings may be subjected to structural failure during and/or after an earthquake.
Buildings that are most vulnerable have been identified with the following criteria:
Consist of 2 or more stories wood frame construction
Built under building code standards enacted before January 1, 1978
Contains ground floor parking or other similar open floor space
The program does not apply to residential buildings with 3 or less units.
SOFT-STORY RETROFIT PROGRAM
PROVIDE BUILDING INSPECTION
PREPARE SEISMIC RETROFIT PLANS AND SUBMIT FOR REVIEW AND APPROVAL
PERFORM CONSTRUCTION BASED ON APPROVED PLANS.
From past earthquakes, multi-story buildings with weak and/or open front wall lines creating a “soft-story” (i.e. buildings with tuck-under-parking) performed poorly and collapsed.
In January of 2014, the city of Los Angeles teamed up with the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) and other organizations to develop a report that would outline the city's plan to create a seismic program intended to improve the city’s resiliency after a seismic event. The city of Los Angeles issued their "Resilience by Design" report outlining their program on December 8, 2014. The report contains recommendations for seismically evaluating and strengthening the city's infrastructure as well as vulnerable commercial and multi-family soft story and non-ductile concrete buildings. The city is using internal resources to create an inventory of soft story buildings that will be affected by the program. A copy of the report can be found here.
On Friday, October 9, 2015, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, signed the nation's strongest earthquake safety laws that require owners of an estimated 15,000 at-risk buildings to make their structures stronger. The ordinance targets two of the most dangerous types of buildings: brittle concrete buildings and wood apartment complexes with weak first stories, which have killed more than 65 people in Los Angeles’ last two major earthquakes. For more information, read the Los Angeles Times article.
To find out more about the tax break for retrofitting that recently passed in the California Senate, read here.
For additional information on the statewide tax credits, read the Los Angeles Times article.