Alpha Structural, Inc. Media Features

Soft Story Retrofitting Beverly Hills

A soft story building is a multi-story structure built with a first floor that is much less rigid (soft) than the floors above. A building with a weak first floor often has large openings underneath like a garage, large overhang or windows or tuck-under parking. These bottom floors are not likely to withstand the pressure of significant seismic activity due to unreinforced openings on the ground floor and the lateral forces that push a structure from side to side.

A major earthquake could cause more movement than an unreinforced soft story building is able to withstand resulting in the upper floors collapsing on those below. The Beverly Hills soft story retrofit program is designed to help prevent such a disaster from occurring in the future by properly strengthening soft story buildings.

Soft Story Retrofitting Isn't Just Recommended, It’s the Law

On January 11, 2019, the City of Beverly Hills signed into law a mandatory retrofit program under Ordinance 18-O-2767 requiring the retrofitting of existing wood-frame buildings with soft, weak, or open front wall to better withstand a major earthquake. Structures that are in danger of being catastrophically damaged in the event of an earthquake are to be upgraded within a finite amount of time. This Beverly Hills soft story retrofitting ordinance is an effort to avoid devastation and to safeguard residents from harm that has been caused by large earthquakes such as the Northridge quake in 1994.

According to a visual field survey and permit records research, approximately 300 buildings in Beverly Hills were identified as potentially being soft story dwellings that could be impacted by the ordinance.

The seismic retrofit program for the City of Beverly Hills may include wood-frame soft story buildings that have the following characteristics:

  • Wood-frame construction
  • Two or more stories
  • Large openings on the first floor such as tuck-under parking units
  • Designed prior to 1978

How Does This Soft Story Retrofit Law Affect You?

It is no longer a question of whether or not there will be an earthquake of significant magnitude in Southern California – the issue is WHEN it will strike SoCal. The longer your soft story Beverly Hills building goes without retrofit, the more potential something disastrous could occur. We are prepared to assist you in all phases of the retrofitting process. Completion of this structural reinforcement could result in a lower insurance premium and, depending on current incentives, you may be eligible for grants, tax breaks and financial aid to help you upgrade your building.

Beverly Hills Soft Story Retrofit Program

The City of Beverly Hills has taken a proactive approach to earthquake safety with the goal to protect people and minimize damage of vulnerable buildings in the event of a major earthquake. It has developed a mandatory seismic retrofit ordinance intended at strengthening existing wood-frame multi-family soft story buildings.

Beverly Hills Soft Story Retrofit Timetable

Once the plans have been approved and the permit is in place, a soft story retrofit usually takes us 1-4 weeks depending on the scope of work involved.

The following are compliance time frames. Compliance dates are calculated based on the date the owner received notice.

From the receipt of the Order to Comply:

  • Submit Screening Form: 6 months
  • Submit Retrofit Plans: 1 year
  • Obtain Building Permit: 2 years
  • Commence Construction: 2.5 years
  • Complete Construction: 3 years

Why Alpha Structural For Soft Story Retrofitting?

Alpha Structural, Inc. is a leader in the field of soft story retrofitting having received numerous awards for their excellence in work and customer service. In 2018 alone, Alpha Structural was recognized for its excellence in customer service winning The Talk Award and Pulse of the City Award. They have received the Angie’s List Super Service Award for over 8 years straight and been recognized as one of the fastest-growing private companies by Inc 5000 and the Los Angeles Business Journal. They have further received commendations and certificates of recognition by many cities in the Los Angeles area.

  • INC 5000
  • Pulse of the City 2018 Award
  • Talk of The Town 2018 Award
  • Angieslist Superservice 2018

One of our specialties is to bring a building like yours up to par with today’s strict building codes. We will carefully inspect your building and isolate the most practical and cost efficient solution. Utilizing our decades of foundation repair and seismic retrofitting experience, we design and engineer to help you save on construction costs.

Our team evaluates each building individually. Common solutions utilized are steel moment frames and plywood shear walls (strengthening existing walls), which adds proper support to the soft story structure against seismic activity. Every Beverly Hills soft story property is unique which means all retrofitting must be customized for each individual building. At Alpha Structural, we will design, engineer, acquire the correct permit and retrofit your structure, all in-house.

Our team is highly-qualified with extensive experience in complex soft story retrofitting in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, and other surrounding cities. Call us today at (323) 258-5482 to schedule an inspection!


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