Last year, Southern California observed the 25th anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake — a 6.7- magnitude blind-reverse thrust temblor that in 1994 caused $67 billion in widespread damage.

It was, and still remains, one of the nation’s most expensive natural disasters.

We’ve learned a lot since then. Thousands of structures throughout California have since been retrofitted to protect them and their inhabitants against the next major earthquake.  We’ve also learned in the past year that the San Diego area faces a much greater earthquake threat than was previously thought from the Rose Canyon fault that runs through the downtown area.

Retrofits make for safer communities, and they also yield significant cost benefits for building owners.

Save Up to $7 for Every Dollar Spent

Researchers at Caltech have determined that for every dollar spent in retrofitting soft-story structures, property owners could expect to save up to seven dollars, and that study didn’t factor in loss to contents, alternate living expenses or deaths and injuries – all of which would have significantly increased the cost-to-benefit ratios.

In a separate study, the university determined that seismic retrofits are cost-effective when projected annualized loss would be reduced by 50 percent or more at a cost that would equal no more than 10 percent of the replacement cost of a building.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency found similar cost benefits in a two-year analysis of seismic retrofit scenarios in California.

“The benefit/cost analysis suggests that a retrofit is strongly justified economically, even without including the value of life,” FEMA determined.

Avoid Loss of Income, Liability

There are other strong economic factors to consider when weighing the cost benefits of a seismic retrofit. These include potential loss of income and significant liability costs associated with damage, death and injury associated with an earthquake.

Loss of income occurs when commercial property is damaged to the point where it is no longer habitable. This can create severe financial hardship for property owners who not only lose their monthly rental income, but may simultaneously face the costs of cleanup, reconstruction or replacement while still making their original monthly mortgage payments.

Seismic Retrofits also provide an important value enhancement to buildings. A retrofitted structure can be worth more because the projected life of the structure has been extended, based on its ability to withstand a major earthquake.

Retrofitted structures also enjoy enhanced market appeal because they are safer and better able to withstand the force of our region’s quakes. These benefits can be used to market units to potential tenants who are concerned with having a safe living environment for their families.

If you are concerned about the potential risks to your building and investment, I urge you to contact Optimum Seismic today at (833) 978-7664 or visit to arrange for a complimentary property assessment by our expert staff.  You have nothing to lose, and much to protect.