Soft Story Retrofit: How and Why It Impacts You!

A large number of properties, including apartment and commercial buildings, have a ‘soft story’ condition. These properties may be required to comply with the Los Angeles Soft-Story Retrofit Program. Many of us are not familiar with this term but it can be easily understood. It is a term used to describe a building with three or more stories located over a ground level and windows, large doors, commercial spaces and other openings in a place where a shear wall is typically required to provide stability.

The Earthquake Safety Implementation Program created the Mandatory Soft Story Retrofit Program as a multi-year community-based effort in 2013. It is originally enforced to ensure the resilience and safety of San Francisco’s housing stock by retrofitting older, wood-framed multi-family units in soft-story condition. However, the regulation has made its way into Los Angeles.

Many apartment, commercial, and residential properties have what is known as a soft-story condition. The term is a description of a building having habitable room(s) above a porch area, carport, or garage that is not designed specifically to transmit lateral or shear forces to the above story.

The City of Los Angeles, in 2015, passed ordinances to establish mandatory standards for soft-story buildings to promote public safety and minimize structural deficiencies resulting from earthquakes. The ordinance requires retrofitting of all the pre-1978 soft-story buildings. The Department of Building Safety has compiled a list of such buildings that require a seismic retrofit and the Los Angeles Soft-Story Retrofit Program outlines that all requirements should be complied by 2022.

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.

Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019.