Structural engineers and seismic experts can drive along a street and quickly identify at least some buildings most vulnerable to collapse in a major earthquake. There are some telltale signs: parking spots under apartments, brick walls that have not been reinforced, first floors held up by flimsy poles.
But it’s harder for the average person to do this analysis, and some have long argued that the public should know the potential risks.
Now the Legislature has sent to Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would require cities and counties in the state’s most seismically vulnerable areas to create lists of buildings that could be at higher risk of major damage or collapse.