What's Expected During A Soft-Story Retrofit

Soft-story buildings are a type of building that is more likely to collapse when there is a sudden earthquake. As a result, it's necessary to make sure that these types of buildings are retrofitted so that they can protect the occupants of a building during an earthquake. 

What is a Soft-Story

A soft-story is a level or wall that is weaker than the other levels or walls in the building. The building is not able to resist lateral forces. When these forces are applied to the wall of the building, the wall collapses. Then the upper floor collapses. This can be catastrophic because those on the floor above and below can be seriously injured by the collapsing building. In some cases, the collapsing building can lead to the entire building collapsing.

A building that is retrofitted is then less likely to collapse. Even if the building might still collapse, the occupants of the building will have more time to escape.

Characteristics That Make Buildings More Vulnerable

There are various factors that can make a building less resistant to earthquakes, such as having retail stores with very large windows or having a parking garage within the building that doesn't provide enough structural support. Buildings that are constructed using a considerable amount of wood and buildings that were constructed in the distant past before better building techniques were developed are also more likely to need to be retrofitted. 

When your building is retrofitted, other elements are added to the building to make sure that it no longer has these deficiencies. An engineer or architect must examine the building to determine if it has any deficiencies. The engineer then creates a plan for retrofitting the building. 

The Role of the Contractor

A contractor is responsible for making necessary modifications to the building. Because a retrofit is often necessary to make the building safe for occupants, an owner of a soft-story building might be required by law to make the necessary modifications to the building. Fortunately, you are given plenty of time to complete the retrofit as long as you follow the timeline.

You will need to submit various types of documents to the United States government. For example, you will need to submit your plan for a retrofit, and you will also need to submit evidence that you completed the retrofit. However, a contractor experienced with soft-story retrofits will make this process much easier.

For more information about soft-story retrofits, reach out to a local contractor.