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LA Apartment Earthquake Retrofits; What Units Are They?

Posted by Staff Reporter on Apr 18, 2016 09:32 AM EDT
Los Angeles officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the second-largest city in the United States after New York City, the most populous city in the state of California, and the county seat of Los Angeles County. more big
Situated in Southern California, Los Angeles is known for its mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, sprawling metropolis, and as a major center of the American entertainment industry. (Photo : David McNew / Stringer)

In 2015, Los Angeles City Council implemented a law that required apartment building owners, especially those that were vulnerable to earthquake collapse, to have structures retrofitted in the next seven years.

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Los Angeles had 13,500 soft-story, wood-framed apartment that have been cited during the building inspectors survey. According to them, these all need retrofitting. However, as of today, residents still have no idea that were staying in an earthquake death trap.

The list of apartments that needed retrofitting were compiled through a feature by the LA Times. The retrofit requirement would affect a number of neighborhoods more than a few others. In the city's Westside and San Fernando Valley, the numbers were daunting.

Almost all soft-story buildings mentioned as vulnerable were situated in these two regions. City officials were able to find almost 3,200 apartment buildings of this kind within San Fernando Valley. The findings revealed that more than 75,000 rental units are affected.

Inspectors on the city's Westwide, on the other hand, noted that Palms neighborhood was especially vulnerable. A six-block Mentone Avenue stretch alone, there were at least 90 structures that were included in the list, according to an LA Curbed feature.

Neighborhoods that have experienced housing booms were also prey to apartment designs that have been proven to be deadly during major earthquakes. The Dingbats, a recognizable soft-story building form, feature units that were built with parking spots beneath, just supported by vertical columns instead of solid foundations. When earthquakes hit, the columns may buckle, coming directly downwards.

The list was vital for renters who live in the cited buildings, not only because of safety reasons, but for finances as well.

LA's construction of brand new houses had not kept up with the outrageous demand. The city also could not afford to lose precious rental units during earthquakes. The reminder of the possible implications that a quake can make on LA's housing market would be instrumental in making sure that damages will be prevented in its minimum.

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