Many properties, residential, commercial
and apartment buildings have what is called a soft story condition. This
term is used to describe any building that has a habitable room or
rooms above a garage, carport or porch area that was not specifically
designed to transmit shear or lateral forces to the story above.
Failures of these types of building or structure with soft story
conditions can lead to loss of lives in an earthquake. Many counties in
California are currently drafting ordinances to require retrofitting of
all soft story buildings.
Non-ductile concrete buildings (NDCS) also pose a danger and could allow for fatal consequences in the event of an earthquake. In a non-ductile building, there typically isn't enough steel reinforcement to form a protective cage around the inside of a building or home. This lack of support typically leads to the cracking and crushing of the concrete, as well partial or total collapse during an earthquake.
Most ordinances allow building owners more than a decade to have a potentially dangerous building retrofitted to comply with the ordinance, but no matter what the time is frame the clock is ticking.
Taylor & Syfan Consulting Engineers
has extensive expertise with a wide variety of retrofit projects.
Should your soft-story building need to be evaluated for compliance
with the ordinance or strengthened and brought up to date with
current seismic standards, we can help.