Big earthquakes in Southern California can put any building to the test, sometimes with tragic results. Loma Prieta and Northridge loom in our memories. Keep in mind that every day is one day, closer to the next big earthquake that will put your building to the test. That’s why there is so much talk in building circles these days about “building resilience” and “building sustainability”.
Although some people use these two terms as if they’re the same thing, there are significant differences all property owners need to understand for the future of their buildings and the lives of the people inside.
How do Building Resilience and Building Sustainability Differ?
- Building resilience is a building’s ability to withstand natural disasters and protect the people in and around them. Just as a resilient person is able to withstand difficulties and bounce back quickly, a resilient building is designed to safely function and shelter people, bouncing back quickly after a severe earthquake. In a nutshell, building resilience refers to a building’s ability to withstand threats posed by Mother Nature.
- Building sustainability is all about designing a building that protects Mother Nature. Sustainable building practices are environmentally friendly, decreasing negative impacts on resources and nature so that future generations can thrive in a cleaner, healthier world.
Although building resilience and building sustainability are not the same, they still have a lot in common. Property managers and owners do not have to choose between one or the other when it comes to building design and construction. Smart engineering can do both.
What is the Future of Building Resilience in Relation to Disasters?
Some examples of how building resilience and sustainability intersect to benefit people include safer, lower-carbon energy sources that are more likely to keep going after an earthquake or other natural disaster strikes. Also, technology has shown us the way to use stronger, renewable, low-carbon footprint building materials that can handle severe side-to-side shaking that comes with Southern California earthquakes.
It’s not just newly-designed and built buildings that can use these new materials. Seismic retrofit projects can make older buildings resilient and improve building sustainability at the same time. In fact, it can be particularly beneficial for owners of older buildings to consider the major factors striving toward building resilience.
How Can We Protect Buildings From Earthquakes?
1. Implement Business Continuity
Every time a major earthquake hits California, people’s lives are thrown into disarray. Families are uprooted and, worse still, people can be killed. Businesses, large and small, can end as well, if they are not located within earthquake resilient buildings. Earthquake damage can disrupt power and water service to buildings, making them uninhabitable for weeks or longer. Structural damage can make it completely unsafe to even enter the building until repairs have been made; provided the damage isn’t so bad that the entire building has to be condemned.
Moving toward a resilient building design, whether in a new building or an older building, can ensure that your business continues and bounces back quickly and effectively, even in the face of a major earthquake and the predictable aftershocks that occur in the following days and weeks. A truly earthquake-resilient building should be able to handle the damaging side-to-side shaking that could cause collapse in unprepared structures not built to withstand California’s earthquakes.
If your business maintains its operations despite the temblors, you’ll be able to serve your customers and your community reliably and safely. Your business can be an anchor of certainty and continuity during a difficult time, which can bolster your position in the marketplace and speed the recovery of the entire community.
2. Follow Current Retrofit Laws and Building Codes
Los Angeles and many other municipalities throughout Southern California have developed stronger earthquake building codes over the years. These codes are based on research and experience gained through dramatic earthquakes and building failures in the past.
The seismic retrofitting of older buildings is a smart business move. Those who neglect to get on top of retrofit needs of older buildings risk major equity losses, liability costs, refinancing delays, bond insurance problems, and insurance problems. The worst problems of all will come if your building isn’t ready for the earthquakes that will surely come in the future.
3. Get a Seismic Retrofitting Consultation
Optimum Seismic has accomplished more than 1,500 seismic retrofitting projects in the last four decades, making us one of the most experienced earthquake retrofit firms in Los Angeles. We understand the entire process of evaluating all types of buildings and infrastructure from foundation to roof, including facades and finishes.
The experts at Optimum Seismic will provide a free engineering assessment of your property, and if you desire, we will create a plan, help you navigate the process and obtain building department permits, provide a bid for construction, and perform the project, all the way through completion and inspection.
4. Get Educated to Give Yourself an Edge
If you know that you need to have a building or buildings earthquake retrofitted, but aren’t sure where to begin, you can learn about the entire process by attending one of our educational seminars. Register for a seminar today to reserve your seat.
Our experts are happy to answer all of your questions and help you understand how your buildings can be part of creating a safe community through disaster resilience and sustainable building practices.
Get Started on Improving the Disaster Resilience of Your Buildings Today
The truth is, you can’t afford to wait and see when it comes to building resilience against earthquakes. Optimum Seismic can help you evaluate your older buildings or help you design newer ones to create the best plan for making them earthquake resilient.
As one of the most experienced companies for earthquake retrofitting in Los Angeles, we can bring your buildings up to current earthquake codes. Schedule a consultation today by calling (833) 978-7664.