CA Hospitals File for Seismic Retrofit Extensions

THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2020


Officials say that several hospitals in California have applied for extensions on mandated seismic retrofits that originally were supposed to be completed in 2008.

ABC7 News reported earlier this month that while most of the hospitals had been covered under an extension that lasted until Jan. 1 of this year, many are applying for an even longer period of time to fall in line under the Seismic Safety Act.

More than 200 hospitals have been working to upgrade their buildings under the Act’s requirements and, according to California’s Office of Statewide Health, Planning and Development, about 41 hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area alone are still under a significant risk of collapse in the event of an earthquake.

Officials confirmed to the news outlet that the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, for instance, has been granted an extension for three of its buildings until July 1, 2022, another for two others until Jan. 1, 2025. Other hospitals that have the most buildings with significant risk include the California Pacific Medical Center West Campus (which has seven buildings) and Stanford Health Care (which has six).

Hospitals that are under extensions must provide a quarterly progress report of their efforts.

Other Code Changes

Hospitals aren’t the only structures that have picked up the pace in the past few years to prepare for the next major earthquake; the state’s high-rises have looked at codes as well.

At the end of 2017, the city of Los Angeles began issuing notices to those who own older concrete structures, as well as wood-framed buildings, informing them of their seismic retrofitting requirements regarding a recently adopted ordinance.

The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety began sending compliance orders to property owners, with around 13,500 properties in the city in need of retrofitting at the time.

That enforcement stemmed from a law passed a few years prior— “Mandatory Earthquake Hazard Reduction in Existing Non-Ductile Concrete Buildings,” the ordinance—that requires seismic retrofits of older, nonductile concrete buildings, as well as weak first-story wood-framed buildings.

About a year later, officials in San Francisco took a closer look at a study out of the Applied Technology Council entitled, “Tall Buildings Safety Strategy,” that focused on the seismic vulnerability of the city’s growing skyscrapers (tall buildings it describes as 240 feet and higher, culminating in a list of about 150 skyscrapers).

   

Tagged categories: Building codes; Condominiums/High-Rise Residential; Disasters; Health Care/Hospitals; Maintenance + Renovation; NA; North America; Regulations; Retrofits

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