Los Angeles to Adopt Toughest Building Codes in U.S.
The city of Los Angeles has enacted aggressive seismic regulations, requiring 15,000 buildings be retrofitted so they will better withstand an earthquake.
The regulations will require property owners to strengthen two types of buildings that pose the most serious potential for loss of life in a big quake: Brittle concrete buildings and the boxy wood-frame apartment complexes built on top of carports. More than 65 people died when these types of buildings collapsed during quakes in 1971 and 1994, reported the LA Times.
Under the law, property owners will have seven years to fix wood apartments and 25 years to fix concrete buildings. The city has already identified about 13,500 apartment complexes that officials suspect need repairs, the Times said.
Owners will be required to find a way to pay for the work, which can range from $60,000 to $130,000 for wood apartments and millions of dollars for large concrete towers, the Times said.
To help pay for the costs, apartment groups are looking for additional financial support, such as breaks on property and state income taxes and business license and building permit fees for owners who retrofit, the article noted.
One key bill being considered by Gov. Jerry Brown is AB 428 by Assemblyman Adrian Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks), which would allow owners to apply for a tax break equal to 30% of the retrofit costs. If Brown wants to veto the legislation, he must do it by Sunday.
To determine whether a concrete building needs retrofitting, owners may have to spend as much as $100,000 on a structural study to ascertain what is inside the columns.