Although the cost of a retrofit may seem daunting in today’s economy, spending the money now to protect your building will save you money in the long run. According to the City of Los Angeles the direct cost of repair of a soft-story building after an earthquake is six times the cost of retrofitting. This figure does not incorporate business interruption costs, legal costs, and lost rental income of an uninhabitable building, further increasing the benefits of seismic strengthening.
Cheaper construction costs.
Due to the general slowdown in construction industry, labor and material rates are significantly lower today than a few years ago. As the economy picks up, labor and material construction prices will increase. By completing your retrofit now, you can take advantage of the competitive construction industry, and reap the same structural benefits.
The soft-story ordinance requires that all existing and prospective tenants and buyers are notified that a building is a soft-story building, which can affect rental and resale values. By retrofitting your building now, your building will be removed from the City’s inventory, and you will be exempt from future retrofit ordinance requirements.
Related: Earthquake tips
Mandatory retrofits are inevitable.
Cities will eventually require mandatory seismic upgrades for soft-story buildings. The risk of building collapse and loss of life is too great and the municipalities and elected officials are concerned about hundreds of red tagged buildings and thousands of homeless people on the streets of their cities. They are also worried that in case if anything happens, they’ll be held responsible. Although it may take several years to pass the required legislation, mandatory retrofit ordinances are inevitable. By retrofitting now, you will be ahead of the game, and protecting your property and tenants.
Deciding to retrofit is a difficult decision for a building owner to make. The costs of retrofitting are immediate and readily apparent, while most of the benefits of retrofitting are not evident until after an earthquake strikes. Overall, however, the benefits of retrofitting greatly outweigh the costs. To find out how much a retrofit of your building might cost, ask a structural engineer to provide you with an estimate.