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Earthquake Retrofitting Occupied Buildings

Earthquake Retrofitting Occupied Buildings

Many occupied buildings in the metropolitan Los Angeles area, especially those built more than twenty years ago, are in need structural repairs and strengthening, as part of an earthquake retrofit.  Healthcare facilities, apartment buildings, some small office buildings and large business operations are occupied around the clock, often  seven days a week.   Many commercial property owners and managers often have complicated decisions to make when contemplating important maintenance projects that could impact existing business operations or even the future safety of their tenants and businesses.  It might seem to be impractical, or even impossible, to retrofit occupied buildings; most owners initially believe that a retrofit cannot be done without shutting down business operations or moving residents to other locations.  Of course, for most commercial properties, that solution is completely out of the question.  It is undoubtedly easier to earthquake retrofit a commercial building while re-roofing or when the building is empty; this sort of maintenance project actually can be finished without disruption to most everyday tenant operations, when a professional contractor specializing in earthquake retrofitting is chosen to do the work.

A qualified contractor who has experience with occupied buildings appreciates the necessity of avoiding disruptions in day-to-day operations, especially when maintenance-related disruptions can have a negative impact on the business and can trigger some major complaints.  Specialized earthquake retrofit contractors generally hire workers with experience; dedicated contractors routinely work hard to ensure minimal impact on workers, tenants, equipment and the overall environment, while respecting the client’s requests and expectations.

If you are a commercial property owner contemplating a commercial earthquake retrofit for your occupied building, the following tips may be helpful to ensure the job is meticulously completed with minimal impact to tenants and businesses:

    • Check with the contractor to determine the average length of time their employees stay with their business.  Loyalty and a stable crew is a reflection of experienced professionalism.
    • Let your contractor know that you expect them to use best safety practices, ensuring their own safety as well as the safety of co-workers, tenants and other building users.
    • Your tenants will need ample notice regarding the retrofit, so be sure to let them know the steps that will be taken to complete the project, especially since the building will be occupied while work is being done.  Request feedback from your tenants to minimize any disruptions in their daily business operations.
    • Any furnishings within the building will need to be protected to minimize the risk of damage to important items.  Keep in mind that noise and dust generated by drilling walls may inconvenience your tenants; as your contractor chooses the best locations to set up tools, any protective sheeting, and walkways, they should consider inconvenience factors.

You will save time and money if you choose an experienced earthquake retrofit contractor who specializes in commercial building reinforcement. Every building has unique specifications for earthquake retrofitting; don’t take the chance that your retrofit will not be adequately done by hiring a general or inexperienced contractor.

While earthquake retrofitting may be done for any number of reasons, the best reason is to ensure the safety and security of a building’s tenants, employees, customers, not to mention inventory and other assets.  The reality is basically this:  many buildings constructed in the Los Angeles area were not originally built to withstand the forces of powerful seismic activity.  To learn more about whether your occupied commercial property in the Los Angeles area should be strengthened and reinforced with additional support systems or to speak with professionals who have specialized retrofitting experience, call Saunders Commercial Earthquake Retrofit today!


Southern California Office

(949) 646-0034

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