Avoiding Soft Stories in San Francisco

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San Francisco is a prime spot for tourists to visit. And when there are tourists, there are businesses. Businesses require retail spaces and garage for those in the field of hospitality. These places and other with wide open spaces are referred to as soft story buildings.

Soft stories are often desired because of its spacious ( Oakland Foundation Repairs ) characteristic which is very good for commercial uses. Problem with soft stories is that it lacks the strength to support the floor above it making it prone to destruction by means of an earthquake.

Because of this vast space, chances of putting up shear walls – walls which are used to increase the floors capacity to cope up with the weight and the swaying characteristic of an earthquake – are slimmed down.

Actually, what makes a soft story a soft story is ( Berkeley Structural Engineering ) when it’s 70% less stiff than the floor directly above it and/or less than 80% as stiff than three floors above it.

What makes it so destructive is that these soft stories are usually at the ground floor of most buildings jeopardizing the whole structure. Most soft stories made into garages, retail stores and other commercial stalls.

What makes these spaces weaker is the fact that is has a lot of doors and windows further weakening the structure’s integrity.

With all these taken into consideration, during ( San Francisco Excavation ) construction, engineers often analyze the blueprints to ensure that there will be no soft stories built so as to not risk any destruction.

Also, earthquake-prone regions take a careful look into plans before issuing building permits to avoid future disasters.

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the many notorious regions where earthquakes cause the most damage. There is actually an estimation which states that one in six ( San Francisco Soft Story ) structures within the area is a soft story building.

This can cause catastrophic results that might claim many lives and cost the government millions of dollars of damage and renovation costs.

Though somewhat expensive, these soft stories can be fixed through the installation of seismic retrofits which supplement that inability of that space to support the weight of floors directly above it.

Onto the latest improvements regarding soft story ( San Francisco Foundation Repair ) buildings, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a bill concerning the voluntary soft story retrofit program which benefits building owners.

The bill has taken effect last 10th April 2010. This includes the benefits of building owners who voluntarily retrofit their by waiving their department review plan fees. With this, they must be able to spend thousands of dollars for every project to ensure the building’s integrity.

Also, last 5th of February 2010, an announcement was made that a legislation concerning mandatory retrofitting program will be created. Together with this is the financial support to lower the costs of retrofitting so that building owners won’t have a hard time installing these support systems.

There are still a lot of setbacks that soft stories bring to structures especially in areas where earthquakes are likely to occur. So if ever you doubt your building’s structural integrity, come down to any San Francisco engineering firms to fix these risky soft stories.

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