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Seismic Retrofit For Older Homes

A seismic retrofit Los Angeles for older homes is an effective way to safeguard your residence and family from the devastating effects of a large earthquake. You can reduce this risk by bolting your house to its foundation, reinforcing weak walls, and more.

Los Angeles has made progress in strengthening buildings that pose a high risk of collapse, but thousands of homes that were built before 1980 remain at risk.

Crawl Space Walls

Many older homes in Los Angeles lack braced crawl space walls. When these are shifted by shaking, it can cause significant damage to both the house and its occupants.

Fortunately, it is possible to reinforce these walls and make them more resistant to earthquake up-and-down motions through foundation bolting – an innovative process known as seismic retrofitting.

This process is a fast and affordable way to safeguard your home against earthquake-induced earthquake movement. Furthermore, it could potentially increase the value of your residence.

If your home is located in an earthquake-prone region, such as Southern California, seismic retrofitting should be your top priority. It’s the most effective way to guarantee your house remains secure and can withstand an earthquake.

Raised Foundations

Raised foundations are commonly used in high-hazard areas and can be an advantageous solution for older homes. Not only do they provide protection from termites, but they also allow for landscaping around them – helping to ground the home to its site.

Many older homes in California’s earthquake zone are particularly vulnerable to shake damage and structural collapse during a major quake. But retrofitting these homes with earthquake-resistant components can dramatically reduce their chance of being damaged, potentially saving homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs costs.

The California Earthquake Authority offers grants of up to $3,000 for seismic retrofits for eligible homeowners in certain higher earthquake-risk ZIP Codes. While this program is targeted towards California’s most vulnerable built homes, it has benefitted a variety of properties across the state.

Soft-Story Buildings

Many older homes in Los Angeles are built upon foundations that could be damaged during an earthquake. Examples include post and pier houses, hillside residences with living spaces above garages, as well as other types of foundations which may be more vulnerable to lateral movement due to an earthquake than others.

Buildings commonly referred to as “soft story” structures are vulnerable to lateral motion due to an open parking or storage level that isn’t supported by the rest of the structure. This makes them top heavy and susceptible to shifting during an earthquake.

Cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland have passed laws requiring retrofitting these buildings in order to strengthen them against a strong earthquake. These regulations aim to strengthen older multi-story buildings in order to avoid collapsing during an earthquake.

High-Rise Buildings

No matter where you live – in a house or high-rise building – seismic retrofitting your house or building is imperative for the safety of you and your family. Not only will it prevent costly earthquake damage and loss, but it’s also an investment in future security.

Los Angeles is home to a wide range of high-rise buildings that require retrofitting. These include steel moment frame high-rises, pre-1980 wood-frame soft-story buildings and non-ductile concrete structures.

Seismic experts warn that these types of buildings could collapse during a major earthquake and cause serious injuries, deaths and property damage. Several cities have taken inventory of such buildings, such as Santa Monica and West Hollywood.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is taking action to require these buildings be retrofitted. They voted to direct public works staff and attorneys to update the county’s building code in order to make these structures stronger against a powerful earthquake.