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• • • UPDATE! • • •

The Los Angeles City Counsel recently passed new ordinances mandating retrofit of all "soft-story" buildings within the city limits...

Adobe Acrobat Reader Los Angeles Municipal Code Ordinance No. 184081
Mandatory Seismic Retrofit Time Limits (0.49MB)

Within 1 year from receiving the city notice, building owners must have retrofit plans (or a demo permit). The time table to complete the retrofit is 7 years from when you receive a notification from the city. You can review a copy of the ordinance via the link above.

Additional regulations are addressed in the documents below:

Adobe Acrobat Reader Los Angeles Municipal Code Ordinance No. 183893
Mandatory Earthquake Hazard Reduction (4.1MB)

Adobe Acrobat Reader Seismic Retrofit Asbestos and Lead Regulations
For Owners, Managers, and Contractors (1MB)

SEISMIC RETROFIT [ Soft Story Reinforcement ]

Several building types are known to be vulnerable in the event of an earthquake, including those with "soft story" conditions. A soft story condition occurs when a building has an open first floor (such as ground level parking, subterranean parking, or an open store front with glass and minimal structural reinforcement) on at least one elevation, if not more.

Examples of buildings with soft story conditions include:

  • Multi-Family Apartment building with tuck-under parking or subterranean parking
  • Retail center with a large store front on the first floor, and living or business operations on upper floors

The general "openness" of the first floor creates the opportunity for structural damage during an earthquake because at least one elevation of the ground floor level lacks proper shear reinforcement to support the building. The design criteria was weak when these buildings were originally constructed; however, today through research performed following major earthquakes around the world, the structural engineering community understands that these buildings must be reinforced or seismically retrofitted.

Following the Northridge earthquake numerous apartment buildings with this type of construction collapsed causing damage and harm to both the building and the building's occupants. From our understanding, there are still several cases of unresolved litigation or insurance claims.

Saunders Seismic is an expert at retrofitting buildings with tuck under or soft story conditions. Watch the following interview recorded by NBC in the Spring of 2011...


Following is a list of typical reinforcement strategies:

  • Adding a steel moment frame, concrete footing and drag line to keep the 1st floor from rotating and collapsing
  • Adding plywood or concrete shearwalls to existing or new walls
  • Replacing existing support columns
  • Adding continuity ties
  • Removing and replacing finishes as required for our work


  • 34+ years experience
  • In-house, experienced personnel in structural work
  • Specialists working with existing buildings, including sensitive tenants and occupied spaces
  • Excellent safety mod rate
  • Licensed in California, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada (Nevada license currently inactive)

Seismic Retrofit

Strengthening buildings for improved earthquake resistance

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Thorough inspection and repair of moisture damaged hardware

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