Archive for February, 2015

Seismic Retrofitting Facts

Author: The Editor

Seismic RetrofittingSomeone tell me – what exactly IS a “retrofit” – does it make my home safer? Why should I bother? Isn’t my house already “bolted”. . . ?

 

Merriam-Webster’s definition: “retrofit” – to provide (something) with new parts that were not available when it was originally built.

– To furnish (as a computer, airplane, or building) with new or modified parts or equipment not available or considered necessary at the time of manufacture.

Dictionary.com definition: – “Retrofitting” – to install, fit or adapt (a device or system) for use with something older: “To retrofit solar heating to a poorly insulated house”.

So what is seismic retrofitting for your home?

Seismic retrofitting is the process of adding additional hardware, plywood and framing lumber to the foundation area of a building in a way that heightens its readiness and helps protect it during seismic activity. There are very specific methods of how this is to be done and unfortunately many wrong ways to do it as well! If your house is built later than 1936, it almost certainly has some level of “bolting” in place from when it was first built. Standards have of course evolved tremendously since then (imagine the lack of safety features in a 1936 car compared to a current one!) and this is where seismic retrofitting (bolting) comes in. It is employing current structural knowledge into an otherwise antiquated situation to improve its overall ability to help withstand earthquakes and to help protect you from catastrophic loss.

We perform full seismic retrofitting (“house bolting”) to current standards. The exact specifications of this work can be viewed directly via the City of Los Angeles website at www.ladbs.org. Even if you do not live in Los Angeles itself, all cities that we work in recognize the Los Angeles standards and accept them. This includes, but is not limited to Glendale, Burbank, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Santa Monica, Culver City and the list goes on.

We also perform corrections of incorrectly performed or antiquated bolting jobs in order to help protect those homes from future earthquakes. (Statistic: 85% of homes within various cities of Los Angeles county that have been “bolted” since the 1994 Northridge earthquake had the work performed sub-standardly when it was done.) Therefore, only about 15% of the inspections we perform find houses to be properly and fully retrofitted. This includes houses that have been “retrofitted” after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. If your foundation retrofit is sub-standard in some way, we will be able to provide you a recipe for correction to resolve that deficiency and help protect your home from loss in any future earthquakes.

If you’ve not already done so, feel free to call for a complimentary

inspection of your primary residence and at the same time, we would let you know specifically (if anything) is lacking when compared to the current standards that are available!