Why every Los Angeles Soft Story Building Needs a Soft Story Retrofit

If your building is a multi-story building, characterized by a ground floor or lower floors that are significantly “less stiff” than the upper floors they support, then you’re the owner of a Los Angeles soft story building that needs some work. In a soft-story building, the lower levels do not have enough shear walls or other elements to help the structure withstand lateral earthquake shaking movements.

Soft story buildings are characterized by having a story which has a lot of open space. Parking garages, for example, are often soft stories, as are large retail spaces or floors with a lot of windows. While the unobstructed space of the soft story might be aesthetically or commercially desirable, it also means that there are less opportunities to install shear walls, specialized walls which are designed to distribute lateral forces so that a building can cope with the swaying characteristic of an earthquake.

Here’s some examples of soft story buildings:

1. Ground or lower floors that have been converted into tuck-under parking without appropriate reinforcements. By design, Tuck-under parking lots have large open spaces with minimal divisions. This is a problem when the tuck-under parking floors have an insufficient number of load-bearing walls.

2. Ground or lower floors turned into office floors, where individual offices are divided by glass partitions. Again, this is a problem when the floors have an insufficient number of load-bearing walls.

3. Ground or lower floors with sweeping, floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Yep, you guessed it, it’s a problem. It may look pretty but when the floors have an insufficient number of load-bearing walls, you’re gonna have earthquake issues.

To get started today or for more information, contact us today to schedule a FREE on-site inspection by our team of soft story experts or call us now at (818)287-8002.