Retrofit 101: Earthquake Retrofitting Info

History and Background

The purpose of this program is to reduce the risk of injury or loss of life that may result from the effects of earthquakes on wood frame soft-story buildings. In the Northridge Earthquake, many wood frame soft- story buildings caused loss of life, injury, and property damage. This program creates a guide for property owners on strengthening their building to improve performance during an earthquake.

What can happen to an unsupported wood frame building during an earthquake?

Many California apartments with garages and carports on the ground story that were built before the 1980s are vulnerable to collapse during an earthquake. They are known as “soft-story buildings.” Here’s why they’re at risk.

Common weaknesses in soft-story buildings

Few walls and flimsy columns support the ground story.

During an earthquake

The first floor crumbles during an earthquake.

Fixing the problem

Adding steel frames to the ground story can strengthen the building’s vulnerability to collapsing.

Inspection, Plan Check/Permits

What should you submit to LADBS for plan check and obtain a permit?

The documents required for submittal are:

  • Structural retrofit analysis/calculation package
  • Architectural plans
  • Structural plans

What is plan check?

Plan check is a process of which the plans are reviewed for compliance to current codes. For this program, the plans will be reviewed for compliance to the mandatory retrofit ordinance 183983 and 184081. Once plans have been reviewed and approved, permit can be issued to begin seismic reinforcement construction.

What is inspection?

All construction work for which a permit is required shall be subject to inspection by authorized inspectors. It is your responsibility to notify the inspector when the work is ready for inspection.

Work is generally inspected and approved in succession and no work may continue beyond the point indicated in each successive inspection without first obtaining the approval of the inspector.

Common items to be inspected are foundation excavations, concrete work, wood framing, shear wall nailing, etc. When completed, there shall be a final inspection and approval of the completed project.

How do you schedule for inspection?

To request for inspection, please fill out our contact form or call us at (800) 520-2824.