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Earthquake Retrofitting Contractor Tips

Earthquake Retrofitting Contractor Tips

Even though California residents and property owners are well aware of the potential for seismic activity on the West Coast, most people don’t think about earthquakes on a regular basis.  Most people have seen the shocking images in recent years of areas that have been hit hard by violent earthquakes, but it is easy to forget how much devastating damage can occur from even small tremors.  When entire roofs collapse and masonry walls separate from their foundations, incredible damages and critical injuries happen so quickly that it is mind-boggling. The secondary effects of broken water and gas lines, fires and flooding can also have catastrophic effects.  The human and financial costs are understandably hard to imagine until the earth begins shaking.

Most California residents are unaware that only 10% of industrial buildings on the West Coast are covered by earthquake insurance. This is not because the owners don’t want coverage.  In many cases, they just may not be able to afford the premiums or get a policy.  Once a commercial building goes through a earthquake retrofitting process, building owners can usually save on earthquake insurance premiums; sometimes the saving is as much as 20-40%.  Additionally, insurance companies may allow a policy to be written on a retrofitted building that previously was rejected.  Even the best preparation can’t completely prevent damage costs, but insurance can certainly help defray some of the expense.

While you may think about hiring a general contractor to inspect your building and complete an earthquake retrofit, that is not really the best option available. Using a general contractor may be a less costly solution, but often they may not be experienced at retrofitting, especially in occupied spaces. In some cases, they may not even have any start-to-finish experience with completing a commercial earthquake retrofit.  Many general contractors will quickly agree to do whatever is asked, with or without experience, just to win the bid.  In the case of earthquake retrofitting, if they never or rarely do this type of work, chances are quite high they don’t have enough experience to get all of the necessary work done thoroughly, quickly and in a cost effective manner.

There are many benefits typically associated with choosing a retrofit company with experienced installers:

  • Better protection and anchoring of the building
  • No secondary damage due to inexperienced contractors
  • Increased chance of insurance savings or earthquake policy approval
  • No loss of business time, if you choose a contractor experienced in occupied spaces
  • A before-and-after insurance quote to show the potential return on your investment

When considering upfront cost vs. contractor experience, it is important to remember that you probably won’t discover cost-cutting or inexperience issues until it is too late—when the retrofit fails during an earthquake.  Inexperienced contractors probably won’t install enough anchors to brace the roof, walls, and foundation. It is important to use an experienced earthquake retrofit contractor who can provide you with a full initial inspection and comprehensive repair services.  An experienced seismic retrofit contractor will shore up your building, providing your building with the necessary safety precautions before the next “big one” hits. Having confidence that the work was done professionally and accurately is necessary; remember you may not get a second chance.

Don’t wait for the next tremor to address the weaknesses in your building! Saunders Seismic Commercial Retrofit is highly experienced in anchoring commercial properties and removing potential hazards to ensure the safety of building occupants. After completing a thorough inspection of a property, the professionals at Sanders Seismic Retrofit will provide building owners in the Los Angeles area with an insurance quote based on present and after-retrofitting values. While helping building owners save on insurance premiums is a plus, it is important to keep in mind that it is much more affordable and safe to retrofit a building before an earthquake than to repair expensive damages later.

To get more information on finding a contractor to help you anchor your building AND save on earthquake insurance premiums, call Saunders Seismic Commercial Retrofit today.


Southern California Office

(949) 646-0034

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