MANDATORY RETROFIT

ORDINANCES

WHAT CITIES HAVE MANDATORY ORDINANCES: 

Alameda, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Fremont, Los Angeles, Oakland, Pasadena, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood. Other cities, such as Long Beach, will be pursuing a similar ordinance.

TYPES OF BUILDINGS THAT ARE AFFECTED:

Most mandatory ordinances cover wood-framed soft story buildings, also called “tuck-under parking” buildings. Many cities also include non-ductile concrete buildings, which are concrete buildings built prior to 1976. Only a few require other buildings, such as Pre-Northridge Moment Frame buildings.

WHEN ORDINANCES GO IN EFFECT:

Dates all vary depending on the city and building type. Los Angeles, for example, has a 7-year deadline for soft-story buildings and a 20-year deadline for concrete buildings. All cities have certain milestones that must be met before deadlines and are to ensure Owners do not wait until the last minute.

 

WILL THERE BE MORE ORDINANCES:

Absolutely. Cities are still learning that there is no “if” the next big earthquake will come, only “when.”

THE REQUIREMENTS:

Typically, wood soft story buildings require strengthening at ground floor only, usually in the parking area. Parking is usually affected during construction with some parking spaces permanently losing width. Some cities, like San Francisco, can require the entire story to be strengthened. Concrete buildings vary, with some not requiring a retrofit and others requiring significant work from foundation to roof

 

THE COST:

Wood soft story buildings are on the cheap end, with about $5000+ for engineering and $50,000+ for construction. Concrete buildings are on the high-end, with retrofits anticipated $50/sf minimum. Remember, a good engineer may cost more, but can save much more than that in construction costs.

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We recently determined a 13-story concrete building in Santa Monica required retrofit. However, Owner was willing to pay for significant analysis ($30k), and we were able to cut down retrofit costs to a relatively insignificant amount ($30k). Not to mention good engineers = better performance of building.

WILL IT AFFECT PML:

Absolutely. The conditions these ordinances are requiring to be fixed are also conditions that adversely affect PML scores. That may not necessarily reduce scores under 20% as the building may have other non-mandatory issues such as crawlspace, URM, etc.