Represent!

Politics, government and public life for Southern California

University of California: LA quake risk study isn't complete

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The University of California on Friday released a statement to clarify the scope of a study it's conducting to assess the collapse potential of older concrete buildings in Los Angeles in the event of a major earthquake.

The study, which started in 2007 with funding from the National Science Foundation, has become a point of contention since the Los Angeles Times published a story on Oct. 13 that reported "more than 1,000 old concrete buildings in Los Angeles and hundreds more throughout the county may be at risk of collapsing in a major earthquake."

The UC study has identified about 1,500 structures in L.A. that are thought to be the types of buildings that could be at risk, but researchers say their study "is not a seismic assessment of specific buildings."

UC researchers refused to provide its list of buildings to the Times, citing liability issues, but the lead engineer, UC Berkeley's Jack Moehle, reportedly told the paper in an email, “If the city [of L.A.] wanted the data we probably would give it to them. … It would be their responsibility to figure out what to do with it.”

On Friday, however, the Times reported that the city had requested the list, which the university declined to provide.

The UC statement said the study is not complete, but that the university "is prepared to discuss" its inventory of potential at-risk buildings in L.A. with city officials. 

UC Statement on Seismic Safety Study by scprweb

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