Earthquake Retrofits Raise Concerns In CA

CodeWatcher WEHO earthquake retrofits

When entire cities have to retrofit for earthquake resistance, building code officials will be on the front lines of enforcement.

As reported by James Mills in the May 15 edition of WEHOville, West Hollywood is considering a new earthquake retrofit policy. Both landlords and tenants are concerned about the costs of upgrading buildings (estimated to be 90% of all the buildings in West Hollywood), who will pay for the upgrades, and urging the city to bear some of the expense:

“The City Council recently passed a law requiring apartment owners to do the necessary upgrades to their buildings. These upgrades are being mandated to ensure that when a major earthquake inevitably hits Southern California, the city’s aging housing stock can survive. If a building collapses during an earthquake and is red-tagged as uninhabitable, then the tenants in the building will be on their own to find new housing.

“About 80% of the city’s 36,000 residents are renters. The vast majority live in rent-stabilized units and are paying below current-market-rate rents. Thus, these retrofits are being required to protect tenants, to help keep them in their rent-control units after an earthquake happens.”

The costs could range from $100,000 to $1 million or more per building. Read the full article here for how this could impact other earthquake areas and the building code officials responsible for enforcing code.

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Residents and building owners lining up to speak at Monday’s earthquake retrofit community meeting.