Along the West Coast, property owners are certainly aware of the potential for devastating earthquakes to occur. Even though they know that there is a strong possibility that “The Big One” may occur within the next 25-30 years, many people do not give quakes a thought in their day-to-day lives. In fact, most of us have seen the alarming images of massive tremblors in the last few years, however once the news dies down, those images are shoved to the back of our minds. When violent earthquakes do occur, roofs collapse, walls and foundations separate, equipment is smashed, pipelines and gas lines break, causing death, critical injuries and incredible destruction. Even though we hear about the expected BIG ONE, imagining the human and financial costs that come when the earth shakes so violently is difficult.
Statistics show that only ten percent of industrial properties on the West Coast have earthquake insurance coverage. In most cases, commercial properties owners want coverage, however they can’t get the coverage or the premiums are too expensive. Buildings that go through an earthquake retrofitting process are more likely to be approved for the necessary earthquake insurance and often property owners can save between 20-40% on the premiums. No matter how prepared commercial property owners when the ground starts to rock and roll, there is no way to completely prevent damage from occurring. Having adequate insurance coverage, however, can definitely help cover some of the repair expenses.
When considering an earthquake retrofit, many building owners schedule an initial inspection with a general contractor. That may seem like a reasonable, less costly choice, but it is probably not the best option available. General contractors are not typically experienced at start-to-finish commercial earthquake retrofitting, especially when it comes to handling the maintenance in an already occupied building. Many general contractors will agree to do the work, even if they do not have the experience, in order to win the bid. Because general contractors rarely do the type of work necessary to adequately complete this type of specialized work, the work is often not done thoroughly or efficiently. In fact, using a general contractor often costs more in the long run.
Choosing a specialized retrofitting firm with experienced, well-trained employees generally ensures the following benefits:
- A more thorough inspection, better anchoring of the building and more attention to details
- No loss of business if the space building is occupied
- No secondary damage due to lack of appropriate experience
- Better chance of getting insurance coverage with lower premiums
While some commercial property owners choose to use general contractors after considering upfront costs, when choosing an inexperienced contractor to do the retrofitting, it is important to remember that the issues related to inexperience and cost cutting are not readily apparent. All it takes is a powerful quake to realize that the retrofit has failed, and by then it is too late. Inexperienced contractors most likely will not install sufficient anchors to adequately brace the foundation, roof and walls. Without a thorough building inspection and comprehensive repairs and strengthening measures to shore up the building, there is little guarantee that employees, customers, tenants and equipment will be safe when the BIG ONE occurs.
Now is the time to address any structural weaknesses in your building. Hiring an experienced seismic retrofitting contractor to strengthen your property and to address any safety hazards is more cost-effective in the end. Retrofit your commercial property now! It is certainly much less costly and safer to have a earthquake retrofit completed before an earthquake happens than to repair considerable damages after the quake. Saunders Seismic Commercial Retrofit works with property owners throughout California and is highly experienced in retrofitting commercial properties in a timely and cost-effective manner.
To see if your building is in need of an earthquake retrofit, call Saunders Seismic Commercial Retrofit today. Their professional team will provide a comprehensive inspection and retrofitting plan to help you anchor your building and save on earthquake insurance costs.