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Take Steps Now to Fix Your Building’s Weaknesses

08 Jan Posted by in Blog | Comments
Take Steps Now to Fix Your Building’s Weaknesses
 

There have been several mega-quakes that have happened in recent years.  With today’s media access, most people have seen images of the impact in Nepal, Haiti and Japan.  Both homes and commercial properties were completely destroyed and those images seen online or in the TV newscasts show just how important it is for properties in California to meet state and local building codes.  If you are a commercial property owner or manager, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of employees, tenants and customers who use your facility.  Most California residents are well aware of the fact that a major earthquake, especially along the San Andreas Fault, could occur at any time in the next 30 years.  Now is the time to determine if your building meets current building codes and safety requirements.

The first step is to identify any safety hazards that exist within your building.  Most commercial buildings have safety hazards that can be easily addressed now, before the ground begins to rock and roll.  Take a walk through your building, looking for heavy objects that could fall from the ceiling, equipment that could collapse, cabinets that are not bolted to wall studs or to the floor, heavy and breakable items that are placed on high shelves and unbraced shelving units that are near the exits.

As you are completing your walk-through, make sure that fire sprinklers and gas lines are secured to avoid possible gas fires and water damage due to pipe breakage.  Even if your building does not sustain major damage caused by strong seismic activity, there is always the possibility of fire and water damage to your building, if steps are not taken to secure the gas lines and sprinkler system.

Another area to review is related to the data stored on your computers.  It is important to make sure that all data is backed up and stored at an off-site location.

Of course, the goal is to make every attempt to ensure the safety of those who are living, working or doing business inside or outside of the building when the ground starts shaking.  There are other hazards to consider as well, therefore an inspection of potential external hazards is also necessary.  Consider the potential for falling objects, such as bricks from the actual building structure.  Look around the outside of the property for the potential impact of damage from other buildings or businesses located nearby.

This may seem overwhelming and time-consuming; if so, consider hiring structural engineering experts to complete a thorough inspection of your property, looking not only for internal and external safety hazards, but also any structural vulnerabilities and building maintenance issues.  For properties that were built before the current building codes were in place (buildings more than 25-30 years old), it is very possible that the inspection will find structural weaknesses that will require a seismic retrofit to repair and strengthen the property.  The inspection is typically completed at no cost and property owners are given a breakdown of the issues that need to be addressed.  Most commercial property owners prioritize fixing structural issues based on determining which issues will have a significant impact on keeping tenants safe and keeping businesses open after the earthquake.

If you are a business owner leasing a commercial building, it is important to develop a good working relationship with the property owner.  When you determine that a seismic retrofit may be necessary, work with the owner or property manager to get estimates from several different licensed contractors with specific training and experience in seismic retrofitting commercial properties.  If a seismic retrofit is necessary to strengthen the building, be sure to ask how long it will take and how it will impact your business.

For commercial property inspections, consider the professional team at Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit.  They specialize in the repair, retrofitting, and reconstruction of occupied buildings throughout California.  Call Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit today to schedule a thorough building inspection and to get suggestions regarding structural maintenance and securing non-structural elements located on your property.

Southern California Office

(949) 646-0034

Northern California Office

(408) 267-3876

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