Santa Monica, nation’s most extensive earthquake retrofit plan

Santa Monica is poised to require safety improvements to as many as 2,000 earthquake-vulnerable buildings in what would be the nation’s most extensive seismic retrofitting effort. Their safety rules would go beyond what Los Angeles has done by requiring not only wood apartments and concrete buildings to be retrofitted, but also steel-frame structures.  Steel buildings were once considered by seismic experts to be among the safest. But after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, engineers were stunned to find that so-called “steel moment frame” buildings fractured.

santa monica soft story ordinance

Santa Monica’s Seismic Retrofit Notices

The City of Santa Monica’s Seismic Retrofit Program has not yet commenced.  Starting in mid-August, notices will be mailed out to affected property owners informing them of the requirements of the Program with compliance deadlines and appeal procedures.  All notices for this program will be sent by the Building and Safety Division on City letterhead, in City envelopes, and will come from the Building Officer.  Any notices or advertisements sent by private companies are not sponsored by or representative of the City of Santa Monica. The full Ordinance can be found  here

Seismic Retrofit, Soft Story Program

Earthquake preparedness is a part of life for Southern Californians. Damage to vulnerable buildings, physical injury, and even death are the most apparent threats from earthquakes. There can also be significant economic damage in their aftermath.

Recent earthquakes have shown that some older buildings may be at risk during future earthquakes because of construction standards at the time they were built. Strengthening our buildings by retrofitting is the best way to save lives and infrastructure during an earthquake.

On March 28, 2017, the Santa Monica City Council unanimously approved a comprehensive seismic retrofit ordinance that will encompass 20 years of work to increase safety of earthquake-vulnerable buildings in the event of a large quake. Nearly 2,000 commercial and multi-family residential buildings made a list of sites that need to be assessed for possible structural improvement. Participation in the program is mandatory when the ordinance goes into effect on May 2017, with notices to affected building owners set to be mailed in phases.

Santa Monica Retrofit – a division of CalQuake Construction Inc., #759817