As Californians, many of us have been waiting for “the big one” for years.
In 2015 Los Angeles set the nation’s strictest earthquake regulations. 15,000 of the city’s buildings will need to be retrofitted so that they can withstand the shaking of severe earthquakes.
Seismic retrofitting involves the process of securing buildings that may not have been adequately anchored prior to current retrofitting standards.
Most of the retrofitting will need to be done to the city’s apartment-style structures.
Smaller and medium-sized complex owners may not have the capital to complete their projects, but the city is offering various programs to help fund the cost. Also, many contractors have banks behind them and can offer financing to help fund the retrofit process.
Helfrich-Associates has worked on many seismic retrofits across the state over the last 20 years. Because of this, we have the experience to needed to assist building owners with their retrofitting needs.
Our process begins with an initial assessment. Our team of geologists and soils engineers will first assess the site and determine the seismic design parameters for use by our structural engineers. We’ll then come out to your property and inspect it and find out what needs to be done to bring it in to compliance. After our initial assessment we will present a recommendation for seismic strengthening. As part of the recommendation we’ll also provide a preliminary budget for construction.
As materials technologies improve, so do our strategy options. Materials such as high-strength steel, fiber-reinforced polymers and concrete have made a huge difference in the way retrofits are completed.
There are several strategy options we can pursue, such as increasing ductility and strength, and reducing the potential collapse during the design earthquake.
One common technique for achieving these strategies is FRP jacketing. Fiber-reinforced polymer, or FRP, jacketing is when we encase connected ends of materials in a reinforced epoxy or polymer substance. Fiber-reinforced steel can also be used. Several types of shear walls (steel moment frames, wood panels, concrete, and masonry) can also be used to provide the required seismic resistance.
Because we have multiple types of engineers (soils, civil, and structural) on staff, we’re extremely knowledgeable about building codes. We’ve also been working on these types of projects for over 20 years. That means we have the ability to complete the project according to all code standards.
We’ll work with the LA City Building Department to ensure that we perform your project to the correct specifications. We often meet with the plan check engineers to determine cost-effective methods of satisfying the intent of the building code.
We’re Californians just like you, and that means we’re sensitive to the risk earthquakes pose to our local communities. A seismic retrofit is a high-priority project for us, so we’re ready to evaluate your seismic retrofitting as soon as we’re contacted.
Ready to get started on your seismic retrofit? Just send us your building information. We’ll research your building and do a site visit – once we’ve done an assessment we can start with a recommendation.
Do you live in the Los Angeles area? Have you started your retrofitting project? Let us know how it’s going in the comments, below.
Need help figuring out how to get started with compliance? We can help!