Every night the news features stories from around the world of massive earthquakes that have struck the US or other countries. All of them have left behind the destruction of buildings, infrastructure, and in many cases, the loss of life. 

If you live in the Los Angeles area, you might remember the Northgate Earthquake of 1994. This massive quake caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and was responsible for Los Angeles city officials rewriting the building codes for future construction. If you are in the San Fernando Valley, you might have been one of the many owners who was issued a notice to retrofit your building.

Just thinking about the scope of this type of job can be overwhelming. It is important to understand that while the up-front costs may seem expensive, there are huge benefits for ensuring your building will stand up to the next earthquake to hit the area. Following are three benefits you can expect from your seismic retrofit.

A Savings of $7 for Every $1 You Spend
Based on a study done at Caltech, an earthquake retrofit can save you up to $7 on every dollar you spend. Another study was done by FEMA, and similar benefits were found. FEMA’s study was based on two years of data analysis that compared different earthquake modifications applied to various types of buildings. FEMA’s study showed that in California, these construction modifications are not only necessary, but they cost effective compared to the losses in property damage or lawsuits from victims of a quake. 

Savings of the Project vs Expensive Lawsuits
As a building owner, if you choose not to perform the retrofit, you could be liable for injuries or property damage done during an earthquake. For example, in an earthquake that occurred in 2003, two employees of a clothing boutique were killed while at work. The owners of the building were notified before the quake, by the city, that a retrofit was needed. They chose not to get it done and were sued by the employees’ families. The court found the building owner negligent and they had to pay out a substantial settlement to the families. Paying the cost of the retrofit now can save you later.

Maintain the Buildings Profitability
Consider the retrofit an investment against loss of income. When an earthquake hits, you want to ensure your building does not sustain heavy damages that could lead to a loss of income. Insurance can help you pay for needed repairs, but in most cases, it will not cover the financial loss while your building is closed to perform them.  It just makes sense to protect your building and investments before a catastrophe strikes.

If you would like to know more about a seismic retrofit, contact Retrofitting 360 for more information.

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