Before selling a property or initiating the property ownership transfer, most cities in the US expect that retrofitting should be done. This is in order to ensure water conservation, health and safety requirements are met. A Retrofit inspection is conducted in order to ascertain that a property complies with the city’s requirements. in case the property does not meet the set conditions, specific corrections should be done to ensure compliance. Once the property has been determined as compliant, then a certificate of compliance is issued by the authorities allowing further transactions to be initiated.
A few years ago, the City of California rolled out its new earthquake retrofit laws. This was through the famous ordinance 183893, whose purpose was to promote the public welfare and safety. The new retrofit laws were focused on ensuring reduced risk of death or injury that can result from the effects of earthquakes on the existing soft structures. Ideally, the authorities were focusing on ensuring the reduction of structural deficiencies through a more economical approach. Are you getting prepared for a soft story retrofitting in California? In this article, we share some important information to let you understand what to expect when getting ready for a retrofit exercise.

What type of properties needs to be scheduled for proper retrofitting?

In California, the new generation of seismic ordinances categorizes the buildings that require retrofitting into two categories. These are the wood-frame soft-story structures and the non-ductile concrete structures.
The Wood-Frame Soft-Story Buildings are also referred to as the weak-story buildings. These are basically multistory properties that are constructed with less earthquake bracing in either of the stories. These are the properties that have tuck-under parking buildings, the buildings with multiple garage doors, and buildings that are fitted with large windows. In California, these property types are constructed as low-rise, wood-frame construction and are used as residential housing. The presence of wall openings on the wood-frame soft-story buildings is what results in a building becoming softer or weaker. This causes sideways movement at the soft story making it vulnerable to collapse in case of an earthquake.
The none ductile concrete structures are prone to brittle behavior in some building parts. These are mostly the properties that were constructed with configurations that cause stress concentrations in locations with a limited amount of reinforcing. The structures that are classified as none ductile reinforced concrete construction should undergo a structural analysis, to be conducted by the authorities. The analysis involves extensive exercise depending on the building complexities.
In addition, properties that were constructed before 1980 require improvement to ensure minimal earthquake risks. In a nutshell, the properties that require proper retrofitting include:
• Properties that were constructed under the building code standards before January 1, 1978
• Properties that consist of two or more stories wood frame construction
• Properties with a ground floor parking or similar open space
As we have seen above, retrofitting is meant to ensure minimal earthquake damages. Therefore, it is worth incurring the cost as it is meant to protect you from property damage. Most importantly, retrofitting is meant to protect life.

How long will retrofit take?

Retrofitting can take anywhere between 4 to 12 weeks. Thus, the amount of time will depend on the type of property and the approval process. After you have the plans and permits ready, the process should not take long, so long as you have hired a qualified retrofitting contractor in California. Talk to an experienced retrofitting company about them assisting you through the retrofitting process. This can include helping you through the plan and permit approval process, making sure that you do not experience delays.
Talk to Build 4 You Inc for a custom retrofitting process. We provide our customers a custom process that involves guiding you through inspections through submittal of project plans. Our project management team will work closely to ensure timely delivery while meeting customers’ requirements. Contact us today for a free quotation on retrofitting in California.