Earthquake Retrofit or Seismic Improvement
Earthquake retrofitting your house is an important step in ensuring your safety and protecting your property during seismic activity. Here are some general steps to follow for properly earthquake retrofitting your house:
Get a professional assessment: Hire a structural engineer or seismic retrofitting contractor to assess the specific needs of your house. They can identify any potential weaknesses and recommend the best solutions for your house.
Install foundation bolting: Foundation bolting involves attaching the wooden frame of your house to its concrete foundation with steel bolts. This helps to prevent your house from sliding off its foundation during an earthquake.
Reinforce cripple walls: Cripple walls are the short walls that support your house above the foundation. They are often the weakest part of your house and can collapse during an earthquake. Reinforcing them with plywood or other materials can help to prevent collapse.
Install seismic-resistant hardware: Seismic-resistant hardware includes brackets, clips, and straps that can help to keep your house's framing and other components in place during an earthquake.
Secure utilities: Make sure your gas, water, and electrical lines are properly secured to prevent them from breaking or becoming disconnected during an earthquake. You may also want to consider installing an automatic gas shut-off valve.
Strengthen your chimney: If you have a chimney, it can be a potential hazard during an earthquake. Strengthening it with a chimney bracket or other reinforcement can help to prevent it from collapsing.
Consider other upgrades: Depending on the specific needs of your house, you may want to consider other upgrades, such as strengthening your roof or installing impact-resistant windows.
It's important to work with a professional to ensure that your earthquake retrofit is properly designed and installed. Retrofitting can be a complex process and may require permits and inspections. You should also check with your local government to see if they offer any financial incentives or assistance for earthquake retrofitting.