LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Two Los Angeles City Council members called on the city Tuesday to investigate the risk to older concrete buildings following media reports estimating at least 50 of the more than 1,000 at-risk buildings would crumble in a major earthquake.
In separate motions, Councilman Tom LaBonge and Councilman Bernard Parks called on city agencies to investigate the concrete buildings following an analysis by the Los Angeles Times that the concrete structures do not contain enough steel reinforcing bars to sustain them during sideways shaking triggered by a large earthquake.
According to the paper, officials have known of the dangers for decades but have failed to order owners to make the buildings safer, due in part to the costs associated with compliance.
The Times also reported the city does not maintain a list of the at-risk buildings and has not accepted offers from university scientists to supply one.
In a motion Tuesday, Councilman Bernard Parks asked the Board of Public Works to work with the city attorney to examine building data on the concrete structures and “identify via city records the accuracy of such data and report with recommendations and necessary ordinances to address both safety and city liability issues.”
Parks’ motion argued a similar effort to require the retrofitting of 8,000 brick buildings in 1981 was highly successful, with no such structures causing deaths in the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
In a separate motion, Councilman Tom LaBonge asked officials in the Building and Safety Department to survey those “non-ductile concrete buildings” erected before 1976 without earthquake reinforcement and determine the costs and means to retrofit the structures.
“One thing is for sure, we are going to have another earthquake,” LaBonge wrote in his motion. “We must prepare, and we must understand the situation to make sure we have taken the necessary and reasonable steps to prepare for that eventuality.”
In August, LaBonge introduced a motion to create a list of old apartment buildings, known as “soft-story” residential apartments, in danger of collapsing during the next big earthquake. A number of “soft-story” apartments were destroyed in the 1994 Northridge quake.
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