It’s November 2013, and almost 20 years have passed since the big (6.7) earthquake rocked Northridge on January 17, 1994. At that time, more than 40,000 buildings were damaged in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Santa Monica and West Los Angeles had significant damage, and 9 houses on my block alone lost their chimneys. One mile away, the La Cienega Blvd. overpass of the I-10 freeway collapsed.
In 2008 the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported: “California has more than a 99% chance of having a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake within the next 30 years” and “the likelihood of a major quake of magnitude 7.5 or greater in the next 30 years is 46%-and such a quake is most likely to occur in the southern half of the state.”
While I have always wanted foundation bolting, I wasn’t sure how much it would cost or whom to trust with the job. My new neighbors had their house bolted shortly after they moved in. I thought to myself: “How smart of them, I should do it too, but can I afford it?.” After much consideration, I finally asked them “Who did your bolting?” To my surprise, they hired a well-qualified local South Robertson business called Avalin Design Construction Co. www.boltusa.com. I called the owner, Fred Cohen, engineer/general contractor (lic. 613782), and he came over to inspect my house. Several days later, a reasonable proposal was sent to me by email.
After quite a bit of internet research on seismic retrofitting, it was easy for me to make the decision to hire Avalin. As I write this, I’m pleased to say that his team of installers are under my house, drilling and bolting. The job should take approx. 4 -5 hours.
While no retrofitting job can guarantee that my home won’t be displaced from its concrete foundation, it will bring me some peace of mind that it will be safer and less prone to major structural damage during an earthquake.