LA County turns attention to aging buildings following Surfside collapse

The county wants to inventory buildings and engineers to assess safety

The partial collapse of the Surfside condo (Getty)
The partial collapse of the Surfside condo (Getty)

Los Angeles County lawmakers want to inventory and assess buildings similar to the Surfside condo tower in Miami that collapsed in late June.

The County Board of Supervisors passed a motion this week that puts a particular focus on buildings in the unincorporated community of Marina del Rey, according to Urbanize.

Supervisor Janice Hahn said that some residents said they were afraid that their buildings may be at risk of collapse because of exposure to water and sea air.

The motion directs the county agencies, including the County Public Works Department, to review the cause of the Surfside collapse and inventory similar privately-owned buildings in unincorporated L.A. County.

The county would require building owners to pay structural engineers to assess the safety of their buildings.

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County staff also will study the feasibility of a certification inspection program for those buildings. The Board of Supervisors proposed a partnership with Long Beach to approach the issue of aging high-rise structures near the coast.

The threat of earthquakes has long been considered the biggest threat to L.A.’s residential towers, commercial buildings and homes.

While newer buildings are built to more stringent safety standards, there are thousands of buildings across L.A. that remain vulnerable to an earthquake like the Northridge earthquake in 1994.

As of late 2019, about a quarter of the 11,400 wood-frame buildings across L.A. have been strengthened to L.A. city’s newest standards. Landlords have until 2040 to retrofit their buildings.

[Urbanize] — Dennis Lynch