SOFT STORY EARTHQUAKE RETROFIT FAQ
Seismic Retrofit Ordinance for Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles recently passed Ordinance 183893, which requires the retrofit of pre-1978 wood-frame soft-story buildings and non-ductile concrete buildings. The goal of the mandatory retrofit programs, under the ordinance, is to reduce these structural deficiencies and improve the performance of these buildings during earthquakes. Without proper strengthening, these vulnerable buildings may be subjected to structural failure during and/or after an earthquake. There are over 13,500 apartment buildings in the City of Los Angeles that need to be retrofitted for earthquake safety.

Seismic Retrofit Work is construction work that involves reinforcing or improving the ability of a building to resist lateral force at ground level where the structure contains parking or other similar open floor space that creates soft, weak or open front walls , and the there exists one or more stories/floors above it.

1. HOW LONG WILL THE SEISMIC RETROFIT WORK TAKE TO COMPLETE
The average time from start to finish is usually 30-60 days depending on the complexity of the retrofit. There is often complications that do occur which can lengthen the time it takes to complete the work. Below is a short list of some of the complications that we have already had occur while we have been doing these earthquake retrofitting of the buildings.

A. SEWER LINE IN THE WAY OF THE GRADE BEAM OR FOOTING the sewer line must be moved out of the way of the grade beam( this is the structural support in the ground below the building). This can add up to 30 days to the time it takes to complete the work as the structural engineer must submit plans to building and safety for approval of the design. Then the plummer must pull a permit and perform the work to move the sewer line.

B. HIGH PRESSURE GAS LINE IN THE WAY OF THE FOOTING OR WHERE GRADE BEAM IS TO BE LOCATED
When a gas line is in the way of the concrete grade beam or footing it will have to be moved as there can be no gas lines imbedded in the concrete. The gas company has to be called to move the gas line. This can take from 7-14 days of time and no work can be done in that area.

C. HOT AND COLD WATER LINES IN THE GROUND WHERE GRADE BEAM IS TO BE LOCATED
When a water line is in the way of the concrete grade beam this will also have to be moved and can add 7-14 days of time

D. ELECTRICAL LINES IN WAY OF CONCRETE FOOTING OR GRADE BEAM OR IN THE WAY OF A SHEAR WALL IN THE BUILDING All electrical lines must be moved out of the way and can add 7-14 days of time to the job
A shear wall is a wall designed on a building that is to give structural support in the even of an earthquake.

2. WILL I HAVE TO MOVE OUT OF MY APARTMENT? NO

3. WILL I LOSE MY PARKING SPACE?
While the construction is going on between the hours of 8am-6pm you will not be able to park in your space. After 6 pm you will be able to park in your parking space and on weekends all day and night. There may be an occasional Saturday that the construction crew will need to work but you will be notified in advance if this is to occur.

4. WILL I RECEIVE ANY RENT COMPENSATION FOR NOT BEING ABLE TO — USE MY PARKING SPACE DURING THE DAY.
Unfortunately there is not any rent compensation, rent reduction, or rent concessions of any type. This new ordinance is very, very expensive to complete. It costs anywhere from $40,000-$150,000 per building.

5. WILL YOU NEED TO GO INTO MY APARTMENT? NO

6. WHAT ARE THE HOURS YOU WILL BE WORKING ON THE RETROFIT?
The hours of operation will generally be from 8am to 6pm Monday thru Friday and an occasional Saturday . If they are going to work Saturday you will be notified.