Breathing New Life Into Older Structures With A Soft Story Retrofit

A soft-story structure, sometimes referred to as a low-rise building, sits on a basic concrete foundation with a wood floor and decking. These buildings are usually residential constructions with commercial office space and retail space located on ground level. These types of structures are highly vulnerable to earthquakes as they can collapse during an earthquake since they often experience vertical as well as horizontal forces. The following soft story retrofit information will help these older buildings continue to stand.

What Is A Soft Story Retrofit?

A soft story is any floor plan where there is a significant amount of open space above the first floor, and it's often found in homes with second stories that have been added on later. The term "soft story" comes from the fact that these buildings are more vulnerable to earthquake damage than others because they lack vertical support at their base. The soft-story design can also be found in commercial buildings like strip malls and apartment complexes.

Evaluation

One of the first steps in soft-story retrofitting is to evaluate the building. The existing structure needs to be inspected to determine if repairs are needed and if retrofitting will be a good investment. The initial report should include problems that need to be repaired, as well as recommendations for retrofitting the building. 

Repair

When you are doing a soft-story retrofit, there might be existing issues that need to be dealt with first. These issues often need to be repaired before the retrofitting work can begin. These are usually problems that will be handled by the retrofitting contractor before they do other repairs to the building. A common issue is the fact that the walls are not structurally sound. These are usually made of wood or brick and can easily be repaired or replaced as needed. 

Retrofit

Retrofit is the process of upgrading a building's structural components to improve its seismic resistance. The purpose of a retrofit is to make the building more resistant to earthquake forces and prevent collapse.

A soft story retrofit adds strength to this area by adding cross bracing between floors and stiffening walls with plywood shear panels or steel studs that are screwed into the existing framing members in order to resist lateral forces from earthquakes without compromising the aesthetics of your home.

Soft story retrofits are important. Contact a soft-story retrofitting service to discuss updating your property to make sure it is safe. For more information on a soft story retrofit, contact a professional near you.

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Construction: Work That Matters

Construction workers and contractors do not always get the "thanks" they deserve. But we all depend on these workers more than we realize. The floor underneath your feet was made and supported by contractors. As you drive to work, the road that passes beneath you was built by a construction team. They may not wear flashy badges or the prettiest uniforms, but construction workers do some really important, meaningful work. Our world would be completely different without them. We can't even imagine what it would look like! To do our part and honor construction workers, we have started this blog. We hope you do your part and read it.

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