SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Owners of so-called ‘soft-story’ building, prone to being severly damaged in an earthquake, can expect to be hearing from the city of San Francisco over the next few months.
In April, San Francisco formally adopted a strict retrofit law; it applies to an estimated 3,000 buildings deemed prone to collapse in a major earthquake. More specifically, the subject properties were built before 1978, stand at least three stories high, and are comprised of five or more dwelling units.
Such structures are referred to as soft-story buildings. They are made of wood framing and generally include a garage, large windows or similar ground floor openings.
The concern is that, in an earthquake, the bottom floor of a soft story building won’t withstand the shaking, allowing the building to collapse or “pancake.”