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Earthquake-Proof Country

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 by Eric Weinstein

Earthquake Proofing Ensures Safety in So Cal

Earthquake Proof Your Home to Survive the Big One!

If you live in Los Angeles and Southern California, then you live in Earthquake Country. Until Hurricane Katrina happened, the 6.7 magnitude Northridge earthquake of 1994 was the most costly disaster in American history. The USGS warns us that the Big One with magnitude 7.0 or higher will strike within a decade. With thousands of homes and buildings still unprepared, Los Angeles may be about to set a new national record.

It’s time you consider earthquake proofing designs for your home or building, which will help save lives, structures, your valuables (which cannot be replaced easily or at all), and will dramatically save finances, investments, and ultimately the local economy.

Structurally speaking, true earthquake proofing is nearly impossible. No matter how reinforced a structure may be, a large enough earthquake can still cause damage, even if just a hairline crack in the exterior stucco, though as great as the collapse of your entire home, either on flat land or on hillside. However, with the proper reinforcement techniques by today’s building codes, and with the help of the extensive experience Weinstein Retrofitting Systems has to offer, your home or building can become as earthquake proof in today’s market as our Quake Proofing specialists know how.

No matter what city you live in within Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura Counties, Weinstein Retrofitting Systems will send a carefully trained and highly experienced Quake Proofer to your home or building at no cost and with no obligation. Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge and steps needed to make your home or building safe, and making Southern California as a whole even safer. If there is any need for earthquake proofing work on your property, then our Quake Proofers will draw up a plan unique to your home or building. Our mission is to provide you with an excellent construction experience!

Is Your House Earthquake Proof? Not Sure?

Call or contact Weinstein Retrofitting Systems to perform a free inspection of your home to verify whether or not it is earthquake proof. Of course, no structure can be completely protected against the Big One, but we do have the means and the technologies that can secure your belongings and secure your home the best way possible: by earthquake retrofitting the foundation of your home.

While many homes were built with the best possible materials and methods at the time in the past 40-100 years, retrofitting is a process that updates the current existing structure so that it meets today’s codes and standards, based on information and science that used to be unavailable because it had not yet been realized.

An earthquake proof house, by today’s standards, is one that meets your local city’s building codes to be earthquake retrofitted at the most minimal level. With further engineering design, your home or building may need additional retrofitting work that goes above and beyond the minimal local building codes. This may be necessary for commercial spaces, historical homes or buildings, or homes with unusual architecture. The local code is chosen ultimately from the international building code, which is the latest information on today’s codes for building structures. An earthquake proof house is one that has taken every possible step to ensure the stability of the structural integrity when the Big One hits. For many homes in Los Angeles, earthquake retrofitting at the minimal level is sufficient.*

Having an earthquake proof house really means a homeowner has done all of his or her research in defending the house against earthquakes and has acted upon that research if improvements are able to be made. A good indication of whether or not a house is earthquake proof is dependent upon the homeowner’s insurance policy. Check with your insurance provider to verify whether or not your house is earthquake proof or has been earthquake retrofitted. If it is verified that your home is not retrofitted to resist the threat of damages from the next Big One, then here are the simple things you can do to be proactive in realizing your goal to protect your home from damage and your loved ones from risk of injury:

  1. Identify your foundation type. Most homes in California are built on raised foundations with dirt crawlspaces supported by concrete piers and wood posts. This is what we call a California Basement, unlike the below ground concrete basements you normally find on the East Coast or Mid-West. Unfortunately, California Basements are not naturally suitable to withstand California tremors absent proper earthquake mitigation building techniques, which was less risky than building below ground basements to begin with. Most existing homes do not have the necessary up-to-code bolting and anchors necessary to keep the home from sliding off its foundation in the event of an earthquake. Think of a glass of water sitting on top of a coffee table. When an earthquake strikes, the glass will slide right off the table and shatter. Your home on a raised foundation lacking proper earthquake hazard mitigation behaves the same way. If your home is slab-on-grade, then it is most likely in good condition unless there are noticeable cracks in the floor which requires that the flooring overlay is removed to expose the concrete beneath. Buckling of wood floors is a good indication that you should check.
  2. Contact Weinstein Retrofitting Systems, your local foundation specialist who has earned the reputation of being your neighborhood expert in earthquake retrofitting and seismic safety. Our inspections are free of charge. While do-it-yourself plans and procedures are available publicly, our firm cannot recommend doing so unless if you are a general contractor who has experience in foundation work. Usually, the space between the dirt floor and the sub-floor of the home is very minimal, and it takes professional labor to safely and accurately perform the work with industrial tools, inspected by your local city department of building and safety.
  3. When meeting with one of our Quake Proofers, it is important to note what you want to be receiving with your bid: the scope of work, the pictures to support his findings, pricing, duration time, and any required city permits. A good point of reference is set by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, which states that the minimum scope of work needed to retrofit the average home must be valued at a minimum of $2,500. The pricing depends on the square footage and perimeter length of the home, as well as height of the home (stories or levels) to determine the spacing of the bolts. Higher structures require more bolts and more laborb , which come with a higher price. If your bid is about $2,500, then it might take only one day to complete the work. Otherwise, the work may take up to three days.
  4. Once the work is completed, contact your insurer. Show your insurance carrier proof of earthquake retrofitting, which Weinstein Retrofitting Systems will help and supply you with. This will lower your premium. Most insurance companies will not consider clients until earthquake retrofitting is performed on their home. Learn why and more about earthquake insurance from the California Earthquake Authority.

Please Contact Weinstein Retrofitting Systems Today!

*Please note that Weinstein Retrofitting Systems will never sell you any retrofitting work your home doesn’t need. We have over 7,000 satisfied clients in Southern California, more than any other residential earthquake retrofitting company in the region.

Steps to Earthquake Proofing Your House

The first step to an earthquake proof house is to perform a seismic retrofit of your home’s foundation. Seismic retrofitting includes bolting the mudsill to the foundation of the home along the perimeter. It also includes bracing the cripple walls with extra-durable plywood sheathing if there are any cripple walls to be braced. Most insurance providers and building departments require that the water heater is strapped as well.

Other measures you can take include performing an interior retrofit to secure all the furniture and heavy objects, installing an earthquake shut-off valve (which you should contact a plumber to perform since Weinstein Retrofitting Systems does not provide or install shut-off valves), and even bracing the foundation to the walls and the walls to the roof for maximum earthquake proofing design of your home or property.

Weinstein Retrofitting Systems will help you prepare for the Big One and will seismic retrofit your home to meet today’s standards for a voluntary seismic retrofit. There is no authority to enforce this seismic retrofit upon you; it is therefore up to you, the homeowner, to secure your home and to protect your loved ones. Performing a seismic retrofit in Southern California is the best way to protect your family and your investment.

Earthquake Proof Buildings: Earthquake Retrofit Your Commercial or Industrial Building

If you are a building owner trying to earthquake proof your building, there are many things you need to take into consideration. First consider that by today’s available resources and standards, a building that is completely earthquake proof doesn’t exist. There is always the possibility that an earthquake large enough can damage or destroy the building even in the building has been earthquake retrofitted. However, there are minimum and maximum measures you can take in order to bring the building closer to what we will refer to as an earthquake proof building. Earthquake retrofitting commercial spaces is a huge concern here in Southern California, as most of the deaths and injuries during the Northridge earthquake of ’94 were caused by weak and failing commercial structures. We can seismic retrofit any of the following:

Concrete Tilt-Up Buildings;
Historical Buildings;
Parking Structures;
Unreinforced Masonry Buildings;
Soft Story Apartment Structures and Commercial Spaces;
Office Buildings; and
Timber Frame/Truss Roof Buildings.

While it is impossible to predict how your building will withstand the next Big One, predicted by USGS to be at about 7.0 magnitude or greater, your earthquake proof building will suffer far less damage than it currently stands.

Earthquake proof buildings are safer to live in, safer to work in, safer to shop in, and easier to insure, as well as easier to sell. Earthquake proof buildings create less liability and invite guests to do more business with you. As a building owner, you are taking the best possible step towards ensuring a safe shopping experience for your guests or tenants, as well as creating a safe working environment for your employees. Service workers such as postal workers are also being protected each time they step into your building.

Earthquake retrofitting your building to maximum earthquake proof achievability also saves the product investment of the items being manufactured or sold within the building. These goods alone are creating a return investment on protecting them by making the building safer for the Big One.

If you are looking to invest in, rent, sell, or buy earthquake proof buildings, then call Weinstein Retrofitting Systems for your free commercial or industrial building inspection to see where the building stands in earthquake proof integrity. With over 1 million square feet of construction successfully performed, there is no building too small or too big that Weinstein Retrofitting Systems won’t inspect for free!

Help Make Earthquake Country Earthquake Proof!

Earthquake proofing your home or building is the best possible step you can take to ensure that the single most important investment in your life stays as rewarding after the Big One as it was before. Help set an example. Cities all over the world have been devastated by major earthquake activity because their governments do not enforce or even promote good building standards. Let California lead: the Big One due here in Los Angeles will encourage the world to keep itself as safe as we have the potential to now. When you earthquake proof your home or building, rest assured that Weinstein Retrofitting Systems, in business for over 35 years, is a family owned company devoted to earthquake proofing you can trust!

Contact Weinstein Retrofitting Systems Today!