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LA Passes Seismic Retrofit Ordinance: What You Need To Know

The City of Los Angeles has unanimously voted to pass the Seismic Retrofit Ordinance, which mandates ...

...structural strengthening of vulnerable buildings in an effort to protect the city against major losses in case of the next major earthquake. The LA ordinance, which is expected to go into effect in the first half of 2016, will require the seismic retrofitting of the city’s most vulnerable building types:

  1. Wood-framed multifamily buildings that contain large areas of tuck-under parking with a stability weakness at the ground floor level, commonly known as a "soft story" or "weak story" condition. Affected buildings are those with four or more units constructed under original building permit applications prior to January 1, 1978 that contain an identified "soft wall line".
  2. Non-ductile concrete buildings constructed under original building permit applications prior to January 13th 1977. The LA ordinance is the country's first to mandate compulsory retrofits of concrete buildings. The LA seismic retrofit ordinance forms part of the City's "Resilience By Design" plan, which is one of the country's most ambitious plans to improve earthquake resilience, and also includes measures to secure water supply and communications infrastructure.

The LA seismic retrofit ordinance forms part of the City's "Resilience By Design" plan, which is one of the country's most ambitious plans to improve earthquake resilience, and also includes measures to secure water supply and communications infrastructure.

In many ways LA's ordinance mirrors the mandatory soft story retrofit ordinance of San Francisco that went into effect in 2013 but LA's law is magnified in both scale and scope and will have a significant impact on the City's property owners, investors, brokers, and lenders.

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