The City of Los Angeles is preparing to adopt a mandatory ordinance requiring building owners to retain a structural engineer to assess and design seismic retrofit of non-ductile concrete buildings.

Non-ductile concrete buildings are generally most concrete buildings that were built before the design using the 1976 Building Code.  The detailing and construction of the reinforcing steel in these older buildings may be inadequate to safely resist large seismic forces caused by expected ground motions on these heavy structures.

Other than unreinforced masonry and tilt-up concrete buildings, which have previously been addressed by City mandatory ordinances, and soft-story buildings, the City’s more than 1,000 non-ductile concrete buildings pose a significant risk of loss of life, business interruption, loss of shelter, and property damage from the next significant earthquake.

This ordinance is a pro-active and forward-thinking initiative by the Mayor and the City to help protect peoples’ lives and allow the City and its residents to continue functioning and recover quicker after a major earthquake.

The City is considering a 30-year timeframe for compliance due to the relatively high cost of building retrofit.  The City is currently working on funding mechanisms, including building permit fee waivers, low-interest loans, and property tax breaks.

During the past 40 years, Critical Structures has provided the structural retrofit design for numerous non-ductile concrete buildings throughout Southern California for owners who have wished to protect their investment either on a voluntary basis or as a result of triggering mechanisms such as adaptive reuse from commercial to loft use.

We apply advanced structural analyses to the specific building, identify the building’s specific vulnerabilities, and create cost-effective retrofit solutions.  We have worked closely with qualified licensed contractors whom have successfully implemented our designs with no or minimum change orders.

Please do not hesitate to contact us, and we will help guide you through the assessment and retrofit process.