Is Your Home Safe in an Earthquake?
Julian Construction, Inc. (www.julianconstruction.com), a foundation repair and construction company in Los Angeles, is releasing information to the public on a few types of homes that are especially at risk during an earthquake.
What: Wood Frame Multi-Family Buildings
Risk: Soft-Story Problems. A soft-story residential building is one that has wide open spaces on the ground floor for windows or garage doors, retail or parking space, and housing on upper floors, and built before recent stricter building codes. The risk is that the lower floor can collapse.
What to do: If you live in this type of building and you own it, contact a foundation contractor or structural engineer to handle the retrofitting and ensure it’s safe. If you rent, ask your landlord what has been done in the way of earthquake retrofitting to bring the building up to current codes.
What: Older Single-Family Homes
Risk: Cripple Wall Problems. Older (often pre-WWII) houses are often not properly bolted to their foundations and/or don’t have properly braced cripple walls. (The walls around the crawl space below the structure). In an earthquake the wood frame could come off of its foundation, the cripple walls can lean or collapse, the foundation itself can crack, or the chimney could break at the roof line.
What to do: Earthquake retrofitting can be done by a qualified foundation contractor. This would typically include a combination of anchor bolting and reinforcing the cripple walls to prevent collapse.
What: Mobile Homes
Risk: Mobile homes installed prior to 1995 that are not properly secured to their foundations can shift off their supports during an earthquake.
What to do: There are three common earthquake retrofitting methods that can ensure that mobile homes are properly secured to their foundations (in order of effectiveness and cost):
- You can have a conventional foundation installed (similar to what’s used for a wood frame home);
- For new homes or existing homes being relocated, owners are required to install an engineered tiedown system using standard plan approvals; or
- For existing homes, owners can install a certified earthquake resistant bracing system.
Julian De La Torre, founder and owner of Julian Construction, stated: “You shouldn’t have to worry about whether your home will be safe in the event of an earthquake. You should rest easy, knowing your home rests on a structurally sound foundation. We can inspect your home to find out what steps are needed to get it there. We offer free foundation inspections for homeowners, and for those with a higher cripple wall, we can review plans or obtain the engineering necessary for your project.”
Julian Construction owns its own company and is built on a “no middlemen” model – no salesmen, no subcontractors. When you work with Julian Construction you get the principals of the company and workers of Julian Construction under your home. The result is the highest quality work at affordable prices. They can be contacted by phone at 323 733-3377, by fax at 323 733-4477 or via their websites, www.julianconstruction.com. You can see tips and advice about home foundations on their blog.