Seismic Upgrade (or retrofit) strategies and techniques have been developed in the past few decades following the introduction of new seismic provisions and the availability of advanced materials like fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP), fiber reinforced concrete and high strength steel.
Soft-story buildings, so called for having first stories much less rigid than the stories above, are particularly susceptible to earthquake damage because of large, unreinforced openings on their ground floor and in their typically wood-frame construction. These openings often accommodate parking spaces, large windows and expansive lobbies in residential and retail buildings. Without proper design, such structures are much less able to withstand the lateral forces -- forces that push a structure side to side -- that earthquakes generate. Once the first floor folds, the upper floors could pancake down on top of it. More and more localities in California are in the process of mandating the Structural Repair of soft story buildings.
Damage in San Francisco due to the Loma Prieta event.
Partial failure due to inadequate shear structure at garage level.
Image source: Wikipedia
There are many existing buildings both commercial and residential in need of these very specialized services that CR Northbay Inc. provides. Our clients include engineers, condominiums, apartment buildings, churches, warehouses, office buildings and residential structures.