June 29, 2021 3:06 PM
by Ara Sargsyan
With the recent tragedy in Surfside, Florida, building owners and residents may have questions about what proactive steps can be taken to ensure the safety of their building. The City of Santa Monica has robust building codes that are created with community safety in mind. Our code requirements often go above and beyond state requirements, contributing to a resilient Santa Monica.
Here are three ways to keep your building safe.
1. Participate in the City’s Seismic Retrofit Program
The City kicked off a Seismic Retrofit Program in 2017 to ensure potentially seismically vulnerable building types in Santa Monica are upgraded to sustain the tremors of an earthquake. Our program is one of the few in the region that includes steel frame structures, which are the largest buildings in the city. This is one way Santa Monica goes above and beyond to ensure the safety of our built environment.
Visit www.santamonica.gov/seismic to review our inventory of buildings that need to be retrofitted. If your building is listed, the City is eager to work with you to bring your building into compliance. If you live in a building that is listed, talk with your landlord about the steps that have been taken.
2. Pull appropriate permits for work done
If you are making upgrades to your property, be sure you pull all applicable permits. This is an important step to ensure the City’s Building and Safety team, as well as the Fire Marshal and other departments, are reviewing your plans for optimum safety. Building inspectors are trained professionals who visit the site and work with contractors and project applicants to ensure work is done in accordance with the latest building standards.
Our permit counter is now offering both virtual and in-person appointments. To make an appointment, visit https://checkin.smgov.net/qmaticwebbooking/#/ and to learn more about the process, visit https://www.smgov.net/Departments/PCD/Permits/Virtual-Permitting/Virtual-OTC-Same-Day-Permit-Review-Instructions/.
3. Invest in maintenance
A strong maintenance program is key to the integrity and longevity of any building. Investing in regular maintenance can save on costly repairs later on.
One way to be sure ongoing work is done properly is by hiring licensed contractors and design professionals. You can locate a licensed vendor through the following link:
Other helpful resources are available at the following professional organizations:
- Los Angeles Basin Chapter of International Code Council https://icclabc.org/
- Structural Engineers Association of Southern California https://seaosc.org/
- California Building Officials https://www.calbo.org/