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Israel Chaidez
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Mandatory Soft-Story Seismic Retrofit Program Ordinance 183983

WARNING NOTICE FOR ALL LOS ANGELES COUNTY APARTMENT OWNERS

Whose buildings are considered “Soft-Story”’

There’s a mandatory seismic retrofitting of your building impose by the city of Los Angeles – Ordinance #183983.

A soft-story building is a structure which has a weaker first floor and is unable to carry the weight of the stories above during an earthquake. The first floor generally would have large openings in the perimeter walls such as garages, tuck under parking or even large windows.

These vulnerable properties may be subjected to structural failure during and or after an earthquake

The buildings that are most vulnerable have been identified with the following criteria:

  • Consist of 2 or more stories wood frame construction
  • Built under building code standards enacted before January 1, 1978
  • Contains ground floor parking or other similar open floor space

The purpose of this program is to reduce the risk of injury or loss of life that may result from the

effects of earthquakes on wood frame soft-story buildings.

The goal of the mandatory retrofit program, under Ordinance 183893 and Ordinance 184081, is to reduce structural deficiencies by the most economical and feasible method. Without proper strengthening, these vulnerable buildings may be subjected to structural failure during and/or after an earthquake.

In the Northridge Earthquake, many wood frame soft-story buildings caused loss of life,

injury, and property damage. This program creates a guide for property owners to strengthen their buildings to improve performance during an earth-quake.

Each property owner of these buildings will be sent an order to comply. These orders will be send accordingly based on the following priorities:

Priority Categories Start date of Sending Out Orders
I. Buildings with 16 or more dwelling units 3-story and above May 2, 2016
2-story July 22, 2016
II. Buildings with 3 or more stories with less than 16 units Oct 17, 2016
III. Buildings not falling within the definition of Priority I or II with 9-15 units Jan 30, 2017
with 7-8 units May 29, 2017
with 4-6 units Aug 14, 2017
Condos/Commercial Oct 30, 2017

The property owner must comply with the ordinance within the following time limits:

From the receipt of the Order to Comply:

  • 2 years: Submit proof of previous retrofit, or plans to retrofit or demolish
  • 3.5 years: Obtain permit to start construction or demolition
  • 7 years: Complete construction

The program does not apply to residential buildings with 3 or less units.

What are your options?

  • Sell the building to avoid the cost of compliance.  Property owners who may not want to incur the burden of expense and work to become compliant with the Mandatory Earthquake Retrofit Ordinance can capitalize on the strength of the current market to capture top dollar for your property.
  • Comply with the soft story retrofit ordinance law.  Property owners who want to continue ownership of their current building and assume full responsibility for retrofitting their building, may refinance their property or borrow against their 401k plan (in case you don’t have enough funds to cover for the retrofit).

What is retrofit?

Retrofit is an improvement to your building by altering or adding any structural elements.

 

What is Tuck-Under Parking?

This type of parking is parking beneath the 2nd floor.

 

Sample of a soft building structure

soft story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to sell your property or need further information on how to comply with the ordinance law, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

(213) 909-2100