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In case you hadn’t heard, the Association of Bay Area Governments estimates that up to 80 percent of retrofits around here will be ineffective in even a moderate earthquake.
How can this be? The main problem is that not one city or county in the Bay Area has adopted a retrofit code. Many inadequate retrofits are being done by well-meaning contractors who don’t know the basic engineering principles of a good retrofit. All the inspector does is make sure that the contractor did what he said he was going to do—there’s no check of correct engineering.
What to do? First, call your head building inspector or city manager and tell them you’d like to see a retrofit code put in place. Second, if your house has been retrofitted, have a properly trained retrofit professional make sure it was done right. Also, to see a great explanation of what makes a good retrofit, check out www.bayarearetrofit.com.
Larry Guillot is owner of QuakePrepare, an earthquake consulting, securing, and kit supply service. Call him at 558-3299, or visit www.quakeprepare.com.