Earthquake Building Safety for Los Angeles

The city of Los Angeles is implementing a new ordinance (183893) which will require all owners of soft-story apartment buildings, 16+ unit apartment buildings and 3+ story apartment buildings to comply.  The code states all property owners must retrofit their buildings within 7 years of the order.  This will provide protection to tenants and their belongings against earthquake hazards as well as massive property damage.

What is a soft-story building and retrofitting?

A soft story is the building type where cars can park under the living units (Pico/Robertson area of Los Angeles has a TON of these buildings).  16+ unit buildings are simply buildings that have 16 or more separate living units under one roof.  Three story buildings are simply three stories of a building dedicated to living quarters.  These types of buildings are very susceptible to earthquake damage, especially soft story buildings.  Although these soft story buildings faired well in the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake, engineers are assuming another big earthquake could bring these structures down!

Retrofitting is the process of adding additional support to an existing building.  This can be done by bolting the wood framing to the foundation with steel ties or installing Simpson strong ties to joists and beams.  By doing this it will lessen the wood framing from shaking in a bad quake!  Check out Simpson strong ties here (located in Riverside, CA!):


This is a picture of a soft-story building that will require earthquake retrofitting.

Above is a picture of a soft story apartment building as well as a 3-story apartment building.

My favorite part of the blog:  MY OPINION!

If you’ve read any of my other blog posts you will know I am not a fan of the government or their intervention.  I must say though, this is one of those laws that seems DECENT, not good, not excellent, but decent.  The only other law in the last 10 years that I feel is excellent is no texting and driving!  It’s common sense.

The downside is this law will put property owners in a bind if they don’t have a lot of money to retrofit their  properties.  But what can I say?  If a bad earthquake hits, this will truly protect the over all well-being of tenants and buildings.  Less damage, less fire, etc.

Owners will also have 7 years to finish this process. This makes no sense but then it does make sense all at once.  The city of Los Angeles takes into consideration this may be costly therefore giving owners 7 years to comply, but what if a bad earthquake hits before owners are finished?

Here is an official breakdown of the EARTHQUAKE ORDINANCE 183893

This is a picture of the earthquake ordinance and all the details.

If you have any questions about our property management services please visit TGN Property Management or call 310 623 2704.  TGN Property Management manages all residential buildings:  SFRs, entire HOAs, small and large apartments, 1 – 4 units, AirBNB vacation rentals as well as commercial business and almost all types of commercial properties like bars, strip malls, industrial, etc.  We have vendors for any type of repair and any type of property.

Also, need someone to retrofit your building?  Check out:

Troy Fontenette

US Integral Service, Inc.

4934 Zambrano Street

Commerce, CA 90040

Tel 323-300-6630 Fax 323-300-6029
Cell 661-547-8585



Posted by: emoss on March 9, 2016
Posted in: Uncategorized