Earthquakes can be extremely dangerous natural disasters. When an earthquake occurs, it can be possible for a building to quickly suffer extensive damage to the point where it may even be prone to collapse. Unfortunately, there are many buildings that have a soft story at the base of the building, which can increase the chance of the structure collapsing in the event of an earthquake. In response to this threat, it will be necessary for the property owner to undertake the necessary repairs to mitigate this threat.
Myth: The Process Of Addressing A Building's Soft Story Will Require A Complete Rebuild
A building owner may be concerned that the only option for mitigating their structure's soft story will be to invest in a complete rebuild for the structure. In reality, a soft story retrofit may be able to effectively mitigate this problem. During this process, the soft story will be reinforced so that it can better support the strain that occurs as the building sways back and forth during the earthquake. Without this retrofitting work, the building will be at a far higher risk of collapsing during the course of both minor and major earthquakes.
Myth: Only Older Buildings Should Be Assessed For The Need To Undergo Soft Story Retrofitting
While it is true that older buildings will often be legally required to undergo soft story retrofitting to mitigate the risk of collapse, individuals should avoid assuming that newer buildings will never benefit from this type of project. In reality, many newer buildings may greatly benefit from additional reinforcement. While the building may meet the minimum standards required by the local regulations, enhanced reinforcing can further improve the building's survivability during an earthquake. This type of improvement to the building may even help to reduce the insurance costs, which can be a sizable amount over the years that you live in the house.
Myth: A Soft Story Retrofit Will Ruin The Aesthetic Of Your Building's Ground Floor
The process of retrofitting a soft story will be somewhat involved as steel beams and other supports may be installed to improve the strength of this part of the building. However, a soft-story retrofitting contractor will be able to work with you to limit the aesthetic impacts of these upgrades as much as possible without compromising the safety benefits. For example, some of the reinforcing components may be installed behind walls or other discrete areas. Following an initial consultation, these contractors will be able to assist you with creating a design that will protect the building's structural integrity and aesthetics.
If you believe you need a soft story retrofit, reach out to a contractor in your area.