• Jason Tuvia

4,600 ‘Soft-Story’ apartment buildings still need earthquake Retrofits



Most of the apartments damaged and destroyed in the Northridge quake were in these dingbat-style buildings.

Los Angeles city officials and property owners are making progress retrofitting the types of apartment buildings that proved especially vulnerable in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The devastating—and deadly—temblor struck 25 years agothis week, toppling and damaging tens of thousands of buildings.

As of this month, 1,500 “soft-story” buildings have been retrofitted, and roughly6,400 are in-progress, according to figures from the city’s building and safety department.

Owners for about 5,000 buildings have yet to submit retrofitting plans, the first major benchmark in the process. But “orders to comply” have been issued for all of the 12,865 soft-story buildings that need seismic upgrades.

The orders are the first step in the city’s mandatory retrofit program, which requires owners, within two years, to either submit proof that their structures have already been retrofitted or file plans to do so.

The city’s chief resilience officer Marissa Aho called the progress “really exciting news.”

“We’re ahead in terms of the number of buildings” that have met their two-year compliance deadline so far, Aho says.

She said the city made an effort to send orders to comply to the owners of larger buildings first, so the retrofits would begin quickest for the bulk of the units that needed them.

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