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ICC News Release
For Immediate Release
November 17, 2015
Contact: Steve Daggers
1-888-ICC-SAFE (422-7233),

ICC a Valuable Resource as L.A. Property Owners Comply with Historic Seismic Retrofit Ordinance

Estimated 15,000 Buildings to be Structurally Rehabilitated in Nation’s Second Largest City

Los Angeles property owners hoping to comply with the city’s landmark seismic retrofit ordinance can rely on the International Code Council (ICC) Family of Companies to help make their buildings safer and more resilient. The Los Angeles City Council unanimously adopted the mandatory retrofit ordinance that will require an estimated 15,000 buildings be structurally rehabilitated so they can better withstand the effects of earthquakes.

“ICC applauds Los Angeles and other California jurisdictions for implementing retrofit programs to improve seismic performance in the state’s built environment,” said Code Council Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims, CBO. “Resilient communities recover faster and safer following earthquakes and other natural disasters. The short- and long-term financial benefits of protecting infrastructure and local economies are immeasurable.”

The ordinance becomes effective Nov. 22, 2015, and targets soft-story wood-frame buildings such as apartment complexes positioned above carports and aging, non-ductile concrete buildings. Existing properties must undergo a structural analysis by a California licensed civil or structural engineer or architect to determine their compliance with the ordinance. The city’s Department of Building and Safety is in the process of completing an inventory list of buildings subject to the ordinance that is expected to be released in February.

The ICC Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) is the only agency specifically referenced in Section 98.0501 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code that addresses alternate materials, devices and methods of construction. ICC-ES evaluation reports are deemed as acceptable for the purposes of Article 1 of Chapter IX of the municipal code.

ICC-ES, an ICC subsidiary, performs technical evaluations of building products for code compliance and has evaluation reports for numerous seismic-related products to assist property owners and contractors in performing retrofit work. Products that have received ICC-ES approval include manufactured seismic resisting components, fabricated seismic control assemblies, and vibration and seismic controls for electronic safety and security.

Code expert Susan M. Dowty, P.E., S.E., ICC’s Government Relations Regional Manager in California has more than 25 years of experience in seismic safety and structural resiliency. The registered civil and structural engineer and former member of the California Building Standards Commission recently participated in the two-day Strengthening Our Cities Summit in Los Angeles which focused on the ordinance and compliance methods. “Susan’s vast knowledge and experience makes her an important resource for California communities working to implement seismic retrofit programs,” Sims said.

ICC also has partnered with several industry organizations including the Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC) to provide products and services to support Los Angeles citizens as they comply with the city’s new seismic retrofit ordinance.

Speaking at ICC’s 2015 Annual Conference in Long Beach, Calif., seismic safety advocate Dr. Lucy Jones echoed the resilience theme and the importance of protecting communities against earthquakes and other disasters. “In California, building codes’ objective of life safety has basically worked,” said Jones, who served as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Science Advisor for Seismic Safety. “The problem is, though, how many buildings are we still going to have with significant damage and financial disruption?

“We need to help society understand what life safety involves,” Jones continued, “and how do we move towards getting more than life safety, so we don’t just preserve our lives, we preserve our economy, our jobs and our homes.”


About the International Code Council

The International Code Council is a member-focused association. It is dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. Most U.S. communities and many global markets choose the International Codes.