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Building Material

A road map to a more earthquake-safe L.A.

A road map to a more earthquake-safe L.A.

The Los Angeles City Council on Friday will consider an ambitious proposal to mandate the retrofitting of as many as 15,000 older buildings that are vulnerable to collapse in a catastrophic earthquake. The measure, initially proposed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, is potentially costly for property owners, but it could mean the difference between people surviving or dying in a major temblor. The council should approve it.

For decades, officials have known that "soft story" wood buildings, often supported on skinny columns over carports, could collapse in a major quake. That's what happened in the 1994 Northridge earthquake when upper floors of the Northridge Meadows apartment...

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