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Too Many Brick Buildings Still Need a Retrofit

Too Many Brick Buildings Still Need a Retrofit

Over the last thirty years, many cities throughout California began requiring commercial property owners to strengthen their properties to avoid the kind of destruction that has occurred during major earthquakes around the world.  While many buildings in the state have gone through a seismic retrofit, there are many that have not yet been retrofitted.  Many of the remaining buildings are located in some of the state’s poorest areas.  They are in danger of collapse when the next “BIG ONE” occurs, yet local officials have not yet passed legislation that would require commercial property owners to complete the maintenance necessary to reinforce those older buildings.

Many experts are very concerned about communities that are located in the San Bernardino area, close to both the San Andreas and San Jacinto fault lines. In fact, based on its location, the city of San Bernardino is particularly at risk of large scale devastation whenever the next powerful temblor occurs.  Not only does the city have a large number of unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings, it has the additional concern of being so close to two major fault lines.  Seismic experts, architects and building engineers are well aware that many buildings in the San Bernardino area are destined to collapse when the ground movement becomes a mega quake.

Several cities do not currently have mandatory rules or building codes that require older brick buildings to be retrofitted for seismic safety, including Bakersfield, Ontario and San Bernardino.  Retrofitting is expensive and many property owners in areas of the state that are struggling economically have complained about the cost of a retrofit.  Depending on the size of the property and the difficulty of the job, a seismic retrofit can wind up costing a property owner several hundred thousand dollars to complete the necessary maintenance work.

In addition, commercial property owners often claim that other earthquakes in the area have not been very damaging, therefore there is no need to spend the money on a seismic retrofit.  There is no sense of urgency and some property owners seem to think it is worth the gamble.  In the end, when the “BIG ONE” starts rocking and rolling, many buildings that have not yet been retrofitted will be severely damaged or destroyed.  Not only will the owners lose their building, many people could be injured or perhaps even lose their lives.  Employees will lose their jobs/livelihood and communities will lose vital area businesses.

If you are the owner of commercial property in the San Bernardino area that is more than 30 years old, now is the time to schedule an inspection to determine if a seismic retrofit is necessary to fortify your building.  Retrofitting most URM buildings will include adding steel rods to anchor the brick walls to the floor and ceiling.  Other retrofitting steps may include the installation of diagonal braces or the addition of polymer or reinforced concrete to strengthen the walls.

Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit can provide San Bernardino building owners with a thorough inspection and project estimate.  Strengthening your building and ensuring employee, tenant and customer safety through a seismic retrofit will be much less expensive before the “BIG ONE” shakes your building to the ground.  Dealing with the repairs or a rebuild and paying for numerous liabilities after a powerful temblor will cost commercial property owners, businesses and the community more in the long run.  Call the professional team at Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit today to determine if your property is in need of a seismic retrofit.

Southern California Office

(949) 646-0034

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