WeHo Officials Find 821 Buildings at Risk in a Major Earthquake

An inventory of buildings in West Hollywood has revealed more than 800 structures that could be at risk of damage or collapse in the event of a large earthquake, the city has announced. The majority (90%) are wood-frame structures with soft stories. They will now be assessed to determine whether they need to be retrofitted.

West Hollywood’s recent survey is part of a comprehensive, proactive effort to identify problem buildings before the “big one” hits. The city passed a mandatory retrofitting ordinance last year, despite opposition from landlords. Concrete and steel condominiums were ultimately exempted from the law.

Damage from a large earthquake could not only hurt persons and property, but also harm the character of the city, Mayor Pro Tempore John Duran said.

“One good shaker without seismic reinforcements could bring many of those buildings into being red-tagged and having to be demolished — thus wiping out a good portion of our affordable housing stock. To me, this is about infrastructure repair and maintenance.”

“We could see a massive overturn of many of our longtime residents if our buildings are not retrofitted,” Duran added.

After receiving written notice from the city, owners of buildings identified as vulnerable will have a year to respond. A report they submit will help the city determine whether their structure is in need of retrofitting.

Owners of wood-framed structures have five years to complete the retrofitting if it is deemed necessary. Concrete and steel buildings can take up to 20 years. Cost estimates run anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000 for wood-frame structures and $50 to $100 per square foot for steel and concrete.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times