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Consider the Future – Resilience by Design

Consider the Future – Resilience by Design

In December 2014, the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, released a plan, called Resilience by Design, to address the city’s biggest seismic vulnerabilities.  After working with seismologists and other technical experts, the US Geological Survey, commercial property owners and businesses throughout the city, a number of steps were determined to be necessary to ensure the city is proactive in addressing those major weaknesses. Part of the city’s plan is related to retrofitting older and weaker buildings; other parts of the plan focus on taking the steps necessary to secure the water supply and communications infrastructure.

Based on its location and history, Los Angeles is known to be an epicenter of seismic risk.  The mayor’s plan, however, is a bold step to move the city forward to become an epicenter of safety, earthquake preparedness, and ultimate resilience.  Resilience by Design is a comprehensive strategy to strengthen city buildings, ensure the availability of the city’s telecommunication systems and protect the water supply when the “BIG ONE” occurs.

Two different types of buildings have been identified as potentially the most vulnerable to the seismic forces of a powerful earthquake.  The Resilience by Design plan requires that vulnerable buildings be retrofitted to prevent the type of devastation seen in recent earthquakes around the world.  Based on the major’s plan, soft story wood-framed buildings constructed before 1980 would be required to go through a retrofit within five years.  In addition, non-ductile reinforced concrete buildings built before 1980 would be required to go through a retrofit within twenty-five years.

Losses due to violent seismic activity can never be completely prevented.  Strengthening commercial property vulnerabilities now, before it is too late, will help prevent the devastating collapse of the Los Angeles area economy.  The goal is not only to survive the “BIG ONE”, but also to recover quickly and return to business as usual.

While older buildings are especially vulnerable, most residents, employees and Los Angeles area business owners believe that newer, more modern buildings are built to meet standards that are earthquake proof.  The current building codes, however, are meant only to ensure that buildings will not completely collapse like they did in the 1906 San Francisco quake.  As things stand currently, if the “BIG ONE” were to occur in Los Angeles, or along any of the many fault lines in California today (or in the near future), it is likely that many newer commercial buildings would be heavily impacted.  Even though newer structures meet the current building codes, many could be left uninhabitable or unusable.  In fact, even while meeting the current state and local building codes, many commercial properties could experience enough damage to be considered total losses.

As history has shown us, rebounding after the devastation of a massive earthquake is difficult and time-consuming, even though the public will expect their communities and businesses to do so quickly.  The programs included in Mayor Garcetti’s Resilience by Design plan are meant to improve the earthquake performance of the most vulnerable buildings in the Los Angeles area, minimizing the possible collapse of those weaker properties.

Seismic retrofitting older, more vulnerable buildings is unquestionably a major public policy issue in Los Angeles and throughout California – it is work that must be done to ensure the safety of residents and resiliency of the businesses and economy of Los Angeles.  Research has shown that there are many faults throughout the state that are overdue for seismic activity; scientists, engineers and others have determined that older buildings need the necessary strengthening and maintenance now – before the next “BIG ONE” blindsides us!

If you are a commercial property owner in the Los Angeles area and would like to maximize the strength of your building, consider scheduling a seismic retrofit now, before it is too late.  Be sure to contact a professional contractor who specializes in the repair, retrofitting, and reconstruction of commercial properties in the Los Angeles area.  Call the professionals at Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit today for more information about scheduling an inspection of your building and to get an estimate for the maintenance required to adequately repair and strengthen your  property.  The work that is done today will minimize damages and losses and help ensure economic resiliency in the future!


Southern California Office

(949) 646-0034

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