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25 years ago LA quake

Mark K

Platinum Member
May 12, 2010
If you think that the problems were only with old commercial buildings you need to learn more about why those buildings failed.

While the idea of upgrading older building is seductive the consequences of this are really messy. First you need to decide how safe is safe enough. Remember that there is no such thing as an earthquake proof building.

Building codes like many other laws are compromises. We would have fewer automobile deaths if we lowered the speed limits but we don't. Consider the costs and the impact it will have on ownership of buildings and the rent charged. What will be the impact on individuals and businesses displaced during the upgrading.

What we know and our seismic building codes have changed greatly over the last 50 years. Thus an argument could be made that many if not most of the older existing buildings are not strong enough. Does this mean that they all should be strengthened? Where do we draw the line? To make it personal what would your reaction be if you were required to seismically strengthen your house.

While there are a lot of messy issues around earthquake risks it is clear that reducing enforcement, as some seem to be suggesting, to reduce construction costs does not make sense.


Sep 11, 2013
Owners who resist should be aware that it is "they" who will pay when the tenants in their buildings die.
It is a risk vs reward decision that they "choose" to make, or not.
Ultimately it is the "suits" who will "feast" after each event.