Why are Soft Story Retrofits required by Law?


Soft story retrofits are structural improvements to buildings that have a weak or "soft" first story, making them more vulnerable to collapse during an earthquake. In recent years, many cities have implemented laws requiring soft story retrofits to help improve the safety of these buildings and reduce the risk of damage and injury during earthquakes.

Here are some of the reasons why soft story retrofits are required by law:

  1. Reduce Risk of Collapse: Soft story buildings are at high risk of collapsing during an earthquake because their first story is weaker than the stories above it. By retrofitting these buildings, the risk of collapse is reduced and occupants are better protected during an earthquake.
  2. Improve Public Safety: The primary goal of soft story retrofit laws is to improve public safety by reducing the risk of injury or death during an earthquake. These laws help ensure that buildings are better equipped to withstand seismic activity and that occupants are protected during an earthquake.
  3. Meet Building Code Requirements: Building codes have evolved over time to include stricter requirements for seismic safety, and many older buildings do not meet these new standards. Soft story retrofit laws help bring these buildings up to code and ensure that they are more earthquake-resistant.
  4. Protect Property: Earthquakes can cause significant damage to buildings and result in the loss of personal property. By retrofitting soft story buildings, the risk of damage is reduced, and property is better protected during an earthquake.
  5. Compliance with Insurance Requirements: Many insurance companies require that buildings be retrofitted to meet seismic safety standards in order to be eligible for coverage. Soft story retrofit laws help building owners meet these requirements and ensure that their properties are insured.

Soft story retrofits are required by law to improve the safety of buildings and reduce the risk of damage and injury during earthquakes. These laws help ensure that buildings are better equipped to withstand seismic activity, that occupants are protected, and that property is better protected. If you own a soft story building, it's important to understand the requirements and to take the necessary steps to retrofit the building to help keep you and your property safe during an earthquake.

With SKS Construction, we provide our clients with a full-service design, engineering and construction company founded in 1987 in the City of Los Angeles, California. SKS Construction is recognized as a leader in engineering and construction of ADU’s, Seismic Retrofitting, and Balcony Repairs. Although SKS Construction has its specialty in seismic retrofitting, over the years they have been able to mold to the demands of the construction market. Design-build jobs for loyal clients from hillside projects, new construction, and even developments in growing cities.

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