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Structural Engineers Call For Retrofitting Older LA Buildings

LOS ANGELES ( — Hundreds of structural engineers gathered Monday to address the risks posed by earthquakes to some of the oldest buildings in the city of Los Angeles.

The "2014 BAR Summit: Strengthening Our Cities" will convene over 300 engineers and other community leaders at The Center at Cathedral Plaza in downtown L.A. to talk about how to mitigate losses from a seismic event in SoCal, including potential liability issues and the official process for addressing its older, pre-1980 buildings.

KNX 1070's Ed Mertz reports Dr. Lucy Jones, who currently serves as Science Advisor for Seismic Safety under Mayor Eric Garcetti, is among the scheduled speakers.

Jones - whose plan includes recommendations to improve the performance of vulnerable building types in earthquakes and ways to improve L.A.'s overall earthquake resiliency - said building codes need to be updated because while newer structures are designed to prevent loss of life, that doesn't mean they're designed to remain open after a major disaster.

"Each new building is building in the potential for greater financial losses," said Jones.

As for the costs of retrofitting local structures, Cushman Wakefield executive director John Eichler said in the case of most commercial leases, the tenant is almost always responsible.

"The tenant would be, to a certain extent, contractually responsible for those costs, a portion if not all," Eichler said.

According to Eichler, in some cases the costs of retrofitting could potentially force some companies to relocate or shut down operation altogether.


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