• Archives

Mandatory Retrofitting of SF’s Soft Story Buildings

Last week, San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors and City Officials signed the Mandatory Seismic Retrofit Program for Soft Story Wood Frame Buildings.  This measure will strengthen thousands of San Francisco’s buildings and assure a faster recovery from future earthquakes. Over 55,000 San Franciscans live in wood-frame buildings built before 1978, which are at least three stories tall and have at least five residential units. These apartments are unsafe because an earthquake shakes the bottom floor that supports the weight of the apartments above, causing buildings to collapse and pancake. Retrofitting involves adding new walls or steel braces to strengthen the ground story. The Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS) estimates the cost of this structural work to be around $60,000 to $130,000 per building.

The Mandatory Seismic Retrofit Program will be executed over the next seven years, starting with a mandatory notice and evaluation period beginning in late this fall. After that, buildings classified as soft story buildings will be placed into four tiers with 4-7 years to complete the necessary structural work.  Those with a shorter time-frame are buildings that have a particularly high potential for loss of life, such as buildings that house a nightclub, senior citizens or students, or buildings with 15 or more units. Property owners must pay for the work out of their own pockets or take out a loan; however, they can fully pass on the costs of the seismic retrofitting to their tenants — even those protected by rent control — over a period of 20 years.  There is also some financial support for building owners, offering finance packages from the banking industry so that owners can meet the new requirements.  This is the latest measure in the Earthquake Safety Implementation Program (ESIP) that means to reduce San Francisco’s most costly risks in the event of a future earthquake.

If you want to check a list of buildings that may be affected by this ordinance, click here.  If your building is on the list, and you have any questions or concerns, or just want to know more about soft-story retrofitting, give me a call at (510)272-9999 or e-mail me at info@test.enginious-structures.com.

See the article below for more information:


Use a Highlighter on this page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *