Earthquake Retrofit:: It May be Mandated

WIKI: A typical soft story building is a several-story apartment building located over a garage or series of retail businesses. Buildings are classified as having a "soft story" if that level is less than 70% as stiff as the floor immediately above it, or less than 80% as stiff as the average stiffness of the three floors above it.

The mayor is leaning towards mandating that all soft story structures be reinforced at the owners cost. This is HUGE - The study included nearly 60,000 residents and 7,000 employees but represent just a 10% of the total amount of buildings believed to be at risk.

The Chronicle says The total cost to shore up the largest so-called soft-story buildings, which are believed to be the city's most vulnerable, would be about $260 million, but about $1.5 billion in possible damage could be prevented. For building owners, the cost could range from $9,000 to $28,000 per residential unit.

Ive seen quite a few retro fits and they can be much more than this. Here is the devil in the details: The report does not provide details about the specific codes that should guide the retrofit work or what materials would be used. Much of the work needed is on brick foundation and to really address the problem of earthquake safety will cost a lot more than $9-28,000 per building they are suggesting. Dont believe that for a minute!

Im all for it.....but I wonder where the money will come from. Banks arent lending and thats a lot of cash. Im guessing many owners wont have it.

Thanks for Reading
Howard Bell
A web site of over 450 articles related to real estate focused primarily on property management.

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