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Non-Structural Elements Should Be Secured

Non-Structural Elements Should Be Secured

Californians have been hearing about the “Big One” for years.  No one can accurately predict an earthquake, however this “Big One” has been forecast for the San Andreas fault and earthquake experts believe that it could wind up being more powerful than anyone previously thought.  Scientists have completed research that shows that a section of the fault is well past due for violent “stress relieving” seismic activity, stating that it could stretch close to 340 miles from the southern end of the fault.

Based on numerous engineering studies and the data documented after the most recent major earthquakes in Nepal, Italy, New Zealand, Japan and Haiti, we now understand why strong building codes and proper building construction are necessary to ensure commercial building safety.  While great planning and a large investment of time and funding are necessary to fully strengthen an older commercial property, there are ways to begin improving the safety issues within a building.  Securing non-structural elements located in any commercial property is the first place to start.

There are many items in commercial properties that quickly become hazards whenever the ground shakes during seismic activity. Items, such as lighting, water pipes and gas lines, that hang from the ceiling begin to swing and drop. Large and heavy equipment and shelving units not secured to the wall can collapse or tumble.  Employees should not be expected to dodge furniture, fixtures, inventory and equipment as they attempt to leave the building when the ground is rocking and rolling.

Commercial property owners and landlords can take the first step to improve safety conditions within their building by securing and anchoring non-structural items.  The first place to start is making sure the following are anchored and secure:

  • Racking systems that store equipment or inventory
  • Fire sprinklers systems
  • Office furniture and equipment, including computer equipment
  • Ceiling grids and lighting fixtures

If you have not had a recent building inspection, it is entirely possible that your San Bernardino commercial property is not strong enough to withstand a powerful seismic event.  Chances are that if your building was build prior to the mid-1980’s, it does not meet the more current building safety codes. It is time to consider scheduling a complete evaluation by knowledgeable and experienced structural experts.  If you have not already secured and anchored non-structural items throughout your building, a thorough inspection completed by an experienced contractor will note areas to resolve.  Of course, when structural issues are found during a complete building inspection, a seismic retrofit may be needed to adequately strengthen the property.

Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit, with an office in San Bernardino, specializes in strengthening older commercial properties, including the repair, retrofitting, and reconstruction of occupied buildings.  Anchoring, securing and strengthening a commercial building to withstand the powerful forces of an earthquake could save lives and prevent injuries.   While many commercial property owners are concerned with the time and cost of retrofitting, doing so before a strong temblor, the “Big One”, occurs is much less expensive than paying for costly repairs later.

If you are considering strengthening your property or if you would like to schedule a thorough inspection for potential seismic retrofitting needs, call the professionals at Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit San Bernardino today.  In addition, if you would like more information about how to secure the non-structural elements in your building before an earthquake, be sure to contact the experts at Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit.

Southern California Office

(949) 646-0034

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