Los Angeles Seismic Retrofit Blog

A successful 2nd Annual Los Angeles Seismic Retrofit Fair for the community

Penhall Company proud to exhibit at the 2nd annual Los Angeles Seismic Retrofit Fair

The bustle of the room grew louder as local property owners from Los Angeles started to arrive at the 2nd Annual Los Angeles Seismic Retrofit Fair. The tables were a buzz as vendors engaged with the locals.

The fair that took place April 17th, 2017 in Los Angeles and was designed to have all the information and vendors in one place for seismic retrofitting.  In the eyes of the community it seemed it was a success.

Penhall Company Seismic Retrofit Services was proud to be present to discuss retrofit needs one on one with customers.  The energy in the room was good, while not all owners were thrilled about the mandatory ordinance most seemed to be positive.  In the end it seems a lot of folks just want the city safer in the event of a major earthquake and this event helped people get closer to their goal of compliance.

Penhall Company Booth ready for the LA Retrofit Fair

In talking with the public yesterday it is clear that property owners are much more interested in Design+Build firms.  The idea of being a “middle man” between and engineer and contractor is not appealing to many.  Other property owners expressed a deep interest in knowing their contractor is honest and reliable.  With so many soft-story retrofits that need to be done in the city some owners were concerned with choosing the right contractor for fear of a bad experience.  We at Penhall Company always try to encourage customers to do their research, get 3 quotes, consult with an engineer and think about their vendor choice before signing a contract. Following your gut can take you far. If something doesn’t feel right, move on to another vendor better suited to your needs.

Penhall was proud to sit and speak with each potential customer about their concerns and retrofits including timelines, costs and tenant support. Our 60 years servicing the local community is a testament to our commitment to high quality and fair priced engineering services.

Read more about the Seismic Retrofit Work Program

Flyer for the 2nd Annual Los Angeles Seismic Retrofit Fair.

April 18, 2017

Building Resiliency Rating System

When evaluating levels of seismic retrofitting, it is at the discretion of the owner to what level of resiliency they desire for their building. At minimum, the seismic retrofit ordinances aim to make buildings safe enough for tenants to exit the building safely in the event of a large earthquake. This does not guarantee that the building will be habitable after an earthquake. For other buildings that would in fact need to be in operation after a large quake, i.e. hospitals, these buildings must be kept to a higher standard of resiliency.

From Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti’s “Resilience by Design” report, “Our building code is designed around a life-safety requirement that mandates construction that ensures a low probability of collapse in the worst earthquake. The code is not designed, however, to make it so buildings, while still standing, are also likely to remain usable after an earthquake. This report recommends a voluntary rating system to encourage building owners to invest in the resilience of their buildings so that they not only stay standing after an earthquake, but so that they also remain functional.”

One such rating system for evaluating how well a building will hold up in an earthquake is known as the United States Resiliency Council Building Rating System. Per the USRC website, “The USRC Building Rating System assigns one to five stars for three performance measures – Safety, Damage expressed as repair cost, and Recovery expressed as time to regain basic function.”

Every city should be concerned first and foremost about the safety of its residents, but secondly, they should want to make sure that the City would still be able to thrive after an earthquake. Would the residents be able to return to their homes and/or jobs after a quake, or will they move to an area of less seismic activity? Per www.fema.gov/building-codes, “If you live or work in retrofitted structures, you’re less likely to be injured during an earthquake. After the earthquake, you’re also more likely to have a home and a job to which you can quickly return. Businesses that use retrofitted buildings are more likely to survive damaging earthquakes and to sustain shorter business interruptions and fewer inventory losses.”

April 14, 2017