Last Update: Thursday, December 05, 2013
|Councilmen Want Survey to Identify At-Risk Buildings|
|Written by San Fernando Valley Sun|
|Thursday, 17 October 2013 02:06|
LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Two City Council members want the city to conduct an investigation into older concrete buildings that are at risk of crumbling during a major earthquake.
Councilman Tom LaBonge introduced a motion asking Building and Safety Department officials to do a survey of pre-1976 "non-ductile concrete buildings'' that have not been reinforced against earthquakes, and to report back on the costs and methods for getting those structures retrofitted.
"One thing is for sure, we are going to have another earthquake,'' according to LaBonge's motion. "We must prepare, and we must understand the situation to make sure we have taken the necessary and reasonable steps to prepare for that eventuality. Of course there are significant cost concerns to figure out, but it is important to understand the risks.''
The motion pointed to a projection that 50 of the more than 1,000 at-risk concrete buildings in the city would tumble down during an earthquake.
In a separate motion, Councilman Bernard Parks called on the Board of Public Works to work with the city attorney to examine data about older concrete buildings around the city and to "identify via city records the accuracy of such data and report with recommendations and necessary ordinances to address both safety and city liability issues.''
Both motions were prompted by media reports that the city has been aware of the dangers surrounding concrete buildings over the past 40 years, but have backed off on mandating retrofitting of the buildings after receiving complaints the costs would be a hardship on property owners.
The city does not keep a list of concrete buildings that are vulnerable to earthquakes and has yet to take up an offer by university scientists to supply them with one, the Los Angeles Times reported.
A 1981 effort to require retrofitting of 8,000 brick buildings proved successful, according to Parks' motion. The 1994 Northridge earthquake led to 60 deaths, but none of them happened in brick buildings.
Many of the buildings destroyed in the Northridge trembler were "soft-story'' residential apartments, which are the subject of another motion recently introduced by LaBonge.
The "soft-story'' buildings were built before 1978 and have weak ground floor walls that are prone to collapsing during earthquakes, according to La- Bonge's motion.