What Factors Influence the Soft Story Retrofit Implementation?

soft story building
soft story building

Soft-story buildings are the type of buildings that have a higher chance of collapsing during an earthquake, so retrofitting these buildings becomes mandatory in various places, such as in the state of California. It’s important for you to hire a licensed structural engineer to learn more about your soft-story retrofit options. It will take a lot of preparation before you can proceed with the retrofitting process, so it’s best for you to start as soon as possible.

Here are 3 factors that can influence the soft story retrofit implementation:

  1. Construction Style of the Building

The primary factor that will influence the soft-story retrofit implementation is the construction style of the building. The construction style of a building will affect the safety of the building, which matters a lot in the retrofitting process. Why? The reason is that the aim of seismic retrofitting is to ensure that the building can withstand an earthquake when it happens.

A bad construction style might cause the building to collapse during an earthquake, thus you need to apply the retrofitting implementation for the building as soon as possible. 

  1. Primary Materials of the Building

Another factor that will influence the soft-story retrofit implementation is the primary materials of the building. Certain building materials need to get retrofitted, even more so if the construction took place before 1980. These materials include wood and concrete.

Soft-story buildings with the primary wood materials will need to get inspected for its safety standards, and if it doesn’t meet the safety requirements, then the retrofitting of the building will become mandatory. It’s the same with soft-story buildings that use concrete as its primary material. The building inspection will become necessary to determine if it will need a retrofitting plan.

  1. Viable Seismic Retrofitting Method 

Last but not least, the third factor that can influence the soft-story retrofit implementation is the viability of the retrofitting plan to get implemented on the building. There are various seismic retrofitting techniques you can apply to a soft-story building. It will depend on the licensed engineers that are working with you in the retrofitting process.

Some buildings need to implement certain techniques called concrete jacketing. Some others might require the steel caging implementation for the retrofitting plan. There are still many other retrofitting techniques you can apply to different soft-story building types, so the chosen seismic retrofitting method will be another factor that influences the soft-story retrofit implementation.


These are the factors that influence the soft-story retrofit implementation. Seismic retrofitting is not an instant process. It needs careful planning, and you also need to submit the retrofitting plan to the local government before proceeding. The government will give you the timeframe of up to 7 years for the retrofitting process to get completed before they issue the order to demolish your building.

It’s better for you to start the process of seismic retrofitting as soon as you receive the letter of retrofitting order from the government. Also, working with a licensed professional is preferable to get the best result out of your retrofitting implementation.


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