Earthquake Retrofitting In San Francisco

Earthquake Retrofitting In San Francisco

Though there are always earthquakes occurring in the Bay Area, the vast majority of them are small enough to go unnoticed. As such, most residents don’t even bat an eye at these constant yet benign quakes. That doesn’t mean however that they are willing to throw caution to the wind because the possibility of another large and potentially destructive earthquake is always looming.

The last major earthquake in San Francisco was the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. While this has provided San Francisco residents with peace of mind for over 30 years it has also give many reason to pause and consider whether or not their building(s) are strong enough to withstand another large tremor. Earthquake retrofitting in San Francisco has become more and more popular with the passage of time and the mandate of upgrades.

What Are Earthquake Retrofits?

  • Earthquake retrofits essentially serve to protect building and homes, both new and old, against the damages that an earthquake can cause. Many building, even those built in and around San Francisco, were not built with earthquakes in mind.

  • Walls that house large windows and things like garage doors are dangerously flexible and are easily torn asunder often collapsing during a quake.

  • Earthquake retrofits protect and brace a building’s supports so that they don’t shatter or tip over during an earthquake of any size. With strengthened supports multi-storied homes are protected against collapse which in turn can save both property and lives.

Soft Story Homes And Buildings

  • In the earthquake retrofitting industry a “soft story” home or building is any building that has multiple floors, windows on multiple floors, extra large or wide doors, and/or expansive commercial spaces in areas where shear walls are normally required for protection against earthquakes.

  • Buildings without this added protection that collapse during a quake are referred to “soft story collapses”.

  • With a decades long quake drought in progress very few homes in the Bay Area have been seismically retrofitted. Rooted Retrofitted seeks to change that by helping homeowners strengthen their dwellings through proven and affordable upgrades.

Retrofitting New Homes

Earthquake retrofitting in San Francisco shouldn’t be limited to only those homes that are considered “old”. In fact even the newest of homes can benefit from what is relatively inexpensive seismic retrofitting.

  • Many San Franciscans with soft homes lose either their homes or their lives during even a middling type of earthquake.

  • Homeowners in San Francisco whom lose their homes to soft story collapse are often left completely displaced with no place to go.

  • While newly built homes are built to modern code they still benefit tremendously from earthquake retrofitting and can ensure that your investment and family’s abode remain safe and intact during an earthquake.

Not only does retrofitting new homes protect them against damages and complete collapse but it can raise the value of a home as well. This is a fantastic selling point for people whom are considering putting their house on the market.

Moment Columns

Moment columns are a network of beams rigidly connected to columns. These columns in turn support a home by prohibiting excessive movement during an earthquake and will keep multiple storied homes from collapsing.

  • In order for moment columns to be installed at a home, trenches are dug near the garage door opening allowing for placement of rebar in these trenches.

  • Once the rebar has been set in a trench the column is attached at the base of the rebar.

  • Trenches are then filled with concrete and the column is attached to the floor directly above the garage.

Multi-Unit Soft Story Retrofits

During the Northridge quake of 1994, 16 people lost their lives because of poorly supported or soft story apartment buildings. Although this quake did not occur in San Francisco it serves as a stark reminder of and illustrates the need for earthquake retrofitting in soft buildings all over the San Francisco area. Retrofitting apartment buildings now, during the absence of large quakes, is essential in saving lives and protecting the public.

The Mandatory Retrofit Program Of San Francisco

Owners of soft story buildings in San Francisco are under a mandate to increase the resilience of their buildings and reduce the negative impacts associated with buildings that aren’t earthquake ready.

  • The San Francisco’s Mandatory Retrofit Program was created by Mayor Lee and the city’s Earthquake Safety Implementation Program in 2013.

  • It is a 50 task plan that is being rolled out and addressed over a period of 30 years.

  • The program is being spearheaded and managed by San the Francisco Department of Building Inspection.

  • Additionally, the program addresses the retrofitting needs of multi-storied homes made with wood frames and other soft story buildings.

  • The program has seen a 99% response rate which means more and more buildings will become safer in the coming months and years.

Keeping People From Unnecessary Harm

Rooted Retrofitting is dedicated to protecting both people and their property by adding additional support structures to homes and buildings. We operate out of San Francisco and everyone on our talented team shares a real passion for the work they do. Let us help you protect your home and give your family the peace of mind it deserves.