They’re common throughout Los Angeles — older, low-slung house buildings which have a parking zone tucked beneath.
They’re also probably harmful in a strong earthquake.
In one of many area’s most harmful earthquakes in latest history — the deadly 6.7 magnitude quake that hit the San Fernando Valley area in 1994 — dozens of people died, including 16 in apartment collapse, mentioned Kenneth O’Dell, president of the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California.
He’s utilizing the pair of earthquakes that shook Southern California last week to remind officials and policymakers to handle the large number of “soft-story” buildings throughout the area, of which he states there are tens of 1000’s in Los Angeles county.
“I don’t wish to frighten folks,” O’Dell informed NBC News. “However, I believe it’s essential to be clear. It is an actual problem.”
O’Dell decided that half a million individuals probably call these buildings house.
That estimate is drawn, partly, on a recent review done in the city of Los Angeles that discovered roughly 12,000 soft-story structures constructed before 1978. Extrapolating out throughout a county that has dozens of cities and inhabitants of more than 10 million, O’Dell stated the area might simply have double that quantity.
Such buildings had been a popular way in California’s booming post-war period to combine housing and parking creatively, he mentioned. However, this design — forged in a period before many leaders and engineers gave a lot thought to earthquake-aware development — additionally makes them weak to the area’s persistent seismic activity.
Parking zone help posts that carry a building’s weight had been usually designed to maximize car space — not to face up to the side-to-side shifting of an earthquake.
“The posts are too weak,” O’Dell mentioned. “They buckle.”