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Should we require earthquake retrofitting of concrete buildings in Los Angeles?

by AirTalk®

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An aerial view of Los Angeles. According to an LA Times analysis, more than 1,000 aging buildings in LA County could be at risk of falling in a major earthquake. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

An analysis by the Los Angeles Times found that more than 1,000 buildings in LA County could be at risk of falling in a major earthquake. The buildings include residences, high rise office buildings and factories in an range of different neighborhoods, some of which are nearly a century old.

The report also says Los Angeles officials have known of the risks, but haven’t required owners of buildings to make them safer. The cost of failing to make the buildings safe could be thousands of lives in the case of a major earthquake. But the financial cost of retrofitting a building is often more than the building’s worth. Owners would have to spend as much as $100,000 to even find out if a structure needed retrofitting, a price owners say they shouldn’t have to pay.

Should it be mandatory for old buildings to be retrofitted? Would it be worth the money to do so? What kind of requirements would be reasonable for building owners considering the expense?

Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles

Charles Tan, principal structural engineer at Charles Tan + Associates in Downtown Los Angeles. He has helped retrofit many downtown buildings.

Martha Cox-Nitikman, Senior Director of Public Policy & Education at the Building Owners and Managers Association - Greater Los Angeles.

Mayor Eric Garcetti will be at the Crawford Family Forum for a conversation with KPCC's veteran political reporter Frank Stoltze Monday Oct. 21 from 8-9PM.

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