California’s seismic construction requirements are designed to protect the lives of those inside. But even with the most modern codes, building to the state’s minimum requirements would leave even new buildings severely damaged in a major earthquake — to the point of being a complete loss.
Earthquake experts have become increasingly concerned about this, noting that a massive temblor would leave many without homes and offices for months if not years.
When a magnitude 6.3 earthquake directly hit Christchurch, New Zealand’s third largest city, in 2011, 70% of the buildings in the central business district were damaged, but all were completely closed because it was too dangerous to be anywhere downtown.
Now, a Los Angeles lawmaker is proposing two bills that would toughen rules on how strong new buildings should be and require cities to identify existing buildings at risk of collapse.