Serving Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Beverly Hills. Brentwood, Laurel Canyon, Los Feliz, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Melrose, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Topanga, Canyon, Westwood & Hollywood Hills.

Name

E-mail

facebook Canyon News twitter Canyon News

Canyon News

Bel Air News

Beverly Hills News

Brentwood News

Hollywood Hills News

Laurel Canyon News

Los Angeles News

Los Feliz News

Malibu News

Melrose News

Pacific Palisades News

Santa Monica News

Sherman Oaks News

Studio City News

Topanga Canyon News

West Hollywood News

Westwood News

Woodland Hills

Celebrity News

State News

National News

World Headlines

Deaf News

Entertainment

Film

Television

Music

On the Industry

Star Gazing

St. John's Confidential File

Theatrical Musings

Life & Style

Event Listings

Tech Talk

Looking Good For Lots Less

Spirit & Creativity

Miller Time

Books

View from the Hill

NY WEST

Chrystal's Recipe Corner

Career and Life Coaching

Gardening With Tony

Life According To Lenson

Real Estate Realities

Food

Sports

Marathon Running

Keeping It Bruin: A Look Into UCLA Athletics

Baseball

Basketball

Football

Hockey

Pets

Vi's Corner

Pet Tips

Point of View

John Armor

Message to America

Critic At Large... Ruta Lee

Labor Week

Ramblings

10 Degrees Cooler

McConnors corner

Edge of the west

The Physics Wizard

Auto

Kyle's Kars

Travel

Susan Michelle's Compass

Advice

Ask Deanna

Dear Lily

Ask Oona

Features

Dancing with Earthquakes

Archives

Sports Schedules

Traveling Beyond the Canyon

Edge of the West

Law Man

Ask Us

Nathan Tabor

The Angry Economist

Truth Probe

As I See It

Columnists

Truth Conquers

The Live Wire

Notes from Exile

Letters to the Editor

Dog Training by Anthony

Canyon Mews

Speak!

Sponsors

America's Most Wanted Dogs

World Recipes

Vegetarian Lifestyle

Humor

News Briefs

Local News

Books

News

Canyon Fodder

Bad Movie Night

Critical Projection

Ed's on the Town

Fitness Quests

Flashback Films

Stories of the Strange

Gourmet Grandma

He Said/She Said

Home Matters with Yvonne

L.A. Etch-a-Sketch

L.A. Ruminations

McConnor's Corner

Mommy Minute

Musically Speaking

My Back Pages

Publisher's Pages

ResourceINK

Scene and Heard in L.A.

Silly...But Wise!

Sunset Diaries

Table Options

The Paws Cause

TV Stuff

Cartoon of the Week



Hollywood Hills News

City Has At-Risk Buildings During Earthquake
Posted by Amanda Macke on Oct 16, 2013 - 3:16:18 PM

HOLLYWOOD HILLS—A Los Angeles Times report released on October 13 found that Hollywood has the largest quantity of old buildings vulnerable to collapse during a major earthquake and has spurred two Los Angeles council members to act. The in-depth investigative report found that “more than 1,000 old concrete buildings in Los Angeles and hun­dreds more throughout the county may be at risk of col­lapsing in a ma­jor earth­quake.” Hollywood, a city with its own fault line, was discovered to have one of the highest concentrations of high-risk buildings.

 

Canyon News spoke with Tom Heaton, the Director of the Cal Tech Earthquake Engineering Research Lab, who defined these high-risk buildings as “old concrete buildings with column frames.” These old concrete, column-framed buildings are susceptible to the sideways movements of an earthquake and therefore need to be retrofitted, or reinforced with bars to protect them from collapse. Heaton said these “non-ductile” or “brittle” buildings “cannot take much damage” and “once the building starts to fail, it all fails.”

 

The Capitol Records Tower, Hollywood Plaza Apartments, Pantages Theater and Knickerbocker Apartments were among the 14 old concrete Hollywood buildings found to have no records of seismic retrofit. Only three of the 14 old concrete structures had been retrofitted for earthquake safety in the blocks around Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, according to the report.
pantages_1.jpeg
The Pantages Theater is one of the high-risk Hollywood buildings.

 

Heaton explained that Hollywood has a lot of these old, brittle buildings because the city was growing during a time when people didn’t yet understand the flaws of these structures. “The defect [in the old buildings] showed up in the 1971 earthquake in the northern part of the San Fernando Valley,” Heaton said. The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LDBS) issued important changes to the 1976 building codes in response. “The problem was in Hollywood, lots of these buildings were already built,” Heaton explained.

 

Luke Zafarani, Chief of the LDBS, told the Canyon News that the agency upgrades their codes every three years but that those codes are only effective from that point on. That means, for example, an industrial building that converted into residential housing prior to the 1976 codes may still have a design that is not strong enough to sustain an earthquake.

 

According to Zafarani, the LDBS only has the authority to regulate existing buildings “that want to change the use of the building or make changes that would exceed 50 percent of the building’s value.” The LDBS cannot force owners to upgrade the structural integrity of their high-risk buildings and instead offers a voluntary retrofitting program.

 

The problem is that building retrofits are a very costly, time-consuming venture that many owners either will not or cannot afford. The Los Angeles Times estimated only about 100 buildings have voluntarily elected to retrofit their buildings.


map-la-browse_1.jpg
Major fault lines in Southern California.

“The problem that is most concerning is the general populous does not know if they are occupying one of the buildings that are at risk because there is no publically available list,” said Heaton. The list created by the Los Angeles Times is only an educated estimate and the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center from UC Berkley will not publically release their list for risk of lawsuit. 

 

Zafarani explained that it is difficult to create an accurate list because there is no way to know the true construction of a building without having a specialized structural engineer come in and inspect each building. The LDBS has never been commissioned to make such a list, and “if we were mandated to do so we would need to hire more people to do it which could be very expensive,” Zafarani said.

 

On Tuesday, October 15, Los Angeles Councilmen Tom LaBonge and Bernard Parks issued requests for city agencies to explore the feasibility of creating a list of high-risk buildings, according to media reports.

 

“If a list was made of these buildings, that step alone would put a lot of pressure on building owners to prove the buildings were not dangerous,” Heaton said.

 

The last major earthquake in the region was the 1994 Northridge earthquake, nearly twenty years ago. According to Heaton, Los Angeles only felt “a glancing blow” of the heavy shaking taking place in the northern San Fernando Valley. “The 1994 Northridge earthquake would have been three to four times stronger if it was placed there in Hollywood,” Heaton said. “Many fragile buildings would have been expected to collapse.”

 

Heaton added that no one can predict when or where the next damaging California earthquake will take place. “We do know a big one will happen, and would prefer engineers were able to say it is going to be hard to knock this building down and not for engineers to be unsure about it,” said Heaton.



 

Cliffside Malibu

-------------------------

-------------------------

 

MANHATTAN BEACH

Serving Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Beverly Hills. Brentwood, Laurel Canyon, Los Feliz, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Melrose, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Topanga, Canyon, Westwood & Hollywood Hills.