Soft story buildings are structures with one floor weaker or less stiff than the other floors above it. The weaker floor has an open space for activities like parking or children's play area; it has less concrete and fewer supporting structures than other floors. Such buildings are at risk of collapsing due to seismic activities like earthquakes, tremors, and vibrations.
Soft story retrofitting reinforces the weaker floor to make it stronger and withstand seismic activities. It entails having an engineer analyze your building and recommend the best renovation method. If you own a rental property in an earthquake-prone area, soft story retrofitting is among the most critical renovations for your building. Below are some of the reasons you should consider soft story retrofitting.
1. Enhance safety
As a building owner, you're responsible for its structural integrity. In an earthquake, you'll be responsible for damages to your tenants' property and injuries. Earthquakes happen unexpectedly, and you need to put measures to ensure the building's occupants are safe. Additionally, rental property is a long-term investment, and soft-story retrofitting ensures your building is safe and durable.
2. Minimize insurance costs
Buildings need multiple insurance covers depending on their location, condition, and activities. For instance, you need coverage for fire, floods, theft, landslides, etc. If the building is a rental property in an earthquake-prone area, the insurance premium can be high because of the likelihood of occurrence. You can lower the cost of insurance premiums by retrofitting the building and proving to the insurance company you've made necessary renovations to reduce the risk.
3. Keep up with regulations
Different states have different safety regulatory programs for building owners. For example, California has a mandatory retrofit program for old buildings. Structures that fail to keep up with these regulations are denied operational permits, and the municipal authorities may order destruction. If your municipality has no mandatory retrofitting requirements, there will likely be such regulations in the future. Therefore, retrofitting helps comply with the law and protects against legal problems.
4. Improve Property Value
Before selling your rental property, consider soft-story retrofitting to get maximum value. Potential investors investigate the types of renovations made to the building to determine its value. Additionally, a property with retrofit repairs attracts more buyers because it guarantees the safety of their investment. A property with no retrofitting in a high-risk area attracts less value because buyers will have to incur future renovation costs.
Soft story retrofitting is a sure way to enhance your building's safety and protect its occupants and property. It also boosts the building's longevity and keeps you on the right side of the law in states where retrofitting is mandatory. To ensure you get the best returns from your property, consider retrofitting as it boosts its market value.