The reason why earthquake retrofitting is important in Los Angeles is that older homes are at risk of significant damage during an earthquake, but by implementing earthquake retrofitting measures, you can limit the damage and protect yourself.
Older raised foundation houses may be particularly susceptible to earthquake shaking as these were constructed before building codes addressed seismic risks were put into place.
Strengthen Your Home
Repairing earthquake damage can be a considerable expense and may prevent you from living in your home during repairs or reconstruction processes.
homes without earthquake retrofitting can be at greater risk of structural damage and total collapse, due to many older houses built before modern building codes considered earthquakes and therefore being more prone to moving off their foundation during an earthquake.
There are a few simple things you can do to strengthen your house and prepare it to better withstand an earthquake.
Installing braces or bolts that will secure a home to its foundation can help ensure its safety during an earthquake, protecting against sliding off of its place or displacement from shifting in any way that might cause major structural damage.
Save Your Family’s Life
Los Angeles is among the most earthquake-prone cities in America, located along its southern section of the San Andreas fault which is highly vulnerable to major quakes.
Because this region is susceptible to more frequent, smaller tremors that strike much closer to homes, earthquake preparation is an ongoing and essential aspect of living here.
Some older houses may be especially susceptible to earthquake damage because they haven’t been retrofitted with modern building codes. For instance, raised foundation homes built prior to 1980 may not have frames bolted securely to their foundation and may contain walls that surround crawl spaces (cripple walls) without bracing.
Under Los Angeles Ordinance 183893 and amendments 184081, buildings located within Los Angeles must be retrofitted with energy-efficient features. Santa Monica and West Hollywood have passed similar laws.
Increase Your Home’s Value
Retrofitting your home to lower earthquake damage risks also has the added bonus of increasing its value – something especially helpful if you plan to sell it later.
Los Angeles is a large and varied city with numerous types of homes – raised foundation older homes, “post and pier” houses and hillside properties among them.
Experts indicate that these homes are particularly susceptible to structural damage during an earthquake as they were constructed before seismic building codes came into force.
Los Angeles has adopted laws requiring owners of these aging buildings to install retrofits on their foundations in order to strengthen them against collapse in an earthquake. Such retrofits will prevent these aged buildings from collapsing under seismic force.
Reduce Your Insurance Rates
Los Angeles and Southern California are home to some of the highest earthquake risk areas worldwide, so it is crucial that you take measures to strengthen your property before an unforeseen event strikes.
Retrofitting your house can be one of the quickest and cheapest ways to increase its earthquake resistance; cost will depend on its size and type.
Older homes with raised foundations such as “post and pier” houses, hillside homes or garage living spaces may require seismic strengthening measures to keep up with modern living needs. You can learn more about these foundation types at our Strengthen Your House page.
An earthquake retrofit not only protects you and your home but can also lower insurance rates; many insurance providers offer discounts for older homes retrofitted adequately with seismic devices.