Protecting Homes Against Earthquakes With Seismic Retrofitting

If an earthquake were to strike at this very moment, are you confident your home is adequately constructed to withstand it? Depending on where you live, how your house is built—and the year in which it was originally constructed—an earthquake could have a devastating impact on your physical and financial health.

We’ve all witnessed the catastrophic impact that large earthquakes can have on society recently, and our hearts go out to those affected in Mexico who are picking up the pieces. Since October is Earthquake Preparedness Month and October 19 is the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill, we thought we’d share some steps homeowners and building owners can take to help minimize the risk of damage.

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Home Improvement Projects Done Without Permits Jeopardizes Home Sales and Contractor Reputations

In late July 2017, the Los Angeles County Superior Court finally dropped the gavel on Mohamed Hadid, sentencing the mega-mansion builder – and father of supermodels Bella and Gigi Hadid – to three years of probation, 200 hours of community service, and more than $3,000 in fines for unpermitted construction on a 30,000 square foot home perched over a Bel Air, Calif. hillside.

Dubbed by Curbed L.A. as the country’s “most illegal mansion,” the sprawling compound boasted pool decks, an IMAX theater, and an entire ground floor that city planners said were never approved. Between 2011 and 2015, ownership of the property changed hands five times even as Hadid stayed on as a developer, allegedly engaging in unpermitted grading and hiding illegal construction behind tarps and taped over doors and windows.
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Building Resilient Structures and Communities — It’s About More Than Safety

This article was written by our Engineering Director, Codes and Compliance, Jeff Ellis.

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about resilient buildings and resilient communities, including what it means to be resilient, why it’s important, whether it’s possible within budget constraints, and how it can be achieved. The 100 Resilient Cities Rockefeller Foundation initiative defines “urban resilience” as “the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.”

The discussions have noted that communities are made up of several components that are necessary to consider when developing a plan for resilience — such as buildings, infrastructure, water, power and communication. Even though community resilience is multi-faceted, the resiliency of buildings is a crucial component because research shows that Americans spend 90% of their day inside buildings.
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Keep Corrosion in Check

Just as knowing the load capacities of your metal hardware is crucial to the longevity and structural integrity of your building project, so is understanding the potential for corrosion. The likelihood of rust and rot increases when building outdoors in wet environments and other corrosive conditions. Having a solid awareness of the corrosive threats posed by the environment and your building materials will help you to choose the fasteners, connectors and anchors that will best mitigate corrosion risk and keep your project structurally sound for the long haul.

Start by evaluating the exposure levels in your environment. Is it an interior dry- or exterior wet-service job, for example? Generally, outdoor environments are more corrosive to steel because of the elevated moisture levels relative to interior spaces. Projects near the ocean or waterfront are at increased risk for corrosion due to airborne chlorides and salt splash prevalent in marine locales. Salt is also a danger if building materials will be exposed to de-icing salts.
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A Well-Connected Home Is a Smart Home

In the digital era, we’ve observed technology grow ever “smarter,” as our devices, tools and appliances advance steadily toward greater connectivity, autonomy and responsiveness. Even homes are getting smarter as lighting, temperature and security systems operate with increasing integration and diminishing oversight on our behalf.
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