FAQs

What is Current Code?

Recent advancements in seismic research have carried over into upgrades and requirements for home building. There have been discoveries of seismic activity in divergent areas, or Zones, where requirements are more stringent than in other areas. Currently, most all building departments require a provision in plans checking for engineers to address earthquake considerations.

Are you engineers?

As a general Contractor, our emphasis is on the implementation of the processes that engineers design. We work hand in hand with engineering firms designing systems that result in the best probability of mitigating home damage in a seismic event.

Can I see something you’ve done?

Typically, the designed anchoring systems we have installed are designed to be minimally invasive to living spaces. The anchoring systems are behind walls, in crawl spaces, attics and in floors. We do have photos of designs that we have installed. Check them out HERE.

Current code vs. upgrade vs. retrofit

  • Upgrade utilizes a minimally invasive process of bracing connections with ease of access.
  • Retrofit encompasses a full scale connection process that should be integrated with a comprehensive home remodel. Exterior siding, roofing, interior walls, floors and foundation are all addressed in this process.

What is a repair?

Typically a repair addresses the current damage issue at hand. A wall, a roof or a foundation being  put back in place  and re-connected.

If my home is “Stick built”, is it as susceptible to an earthquake as a brick home?

Depending on the year your home was built, gives light to the level of structural integrity your home was built with. The more recent the home was built, the greater integrity of the building requirements for connections. The older the home, the less likely it is to survive a earthquake damage.

Do you put houses on big rubber pads?

No. Isolation pads and energy absorbing methods are used in large commercial structures that were not built to withstand much shaking and where the physics are very different.

Can you explain the theory behind what you do?

Let’s be clear, once a  scientific or physical theory is proven and accepted it becomes a law, like the law of gravity. There are shake tables or in other words, earthquake simulators around the world where full size buildings are erected and tested. These tests prove effectiveness of the methods we use.

Is there a guarantee?

Yes, we guarantee that our work is completed in accordance with the plans and contract. We cannot guarantee the performance of earth we all live on so we refer you to the maker for any issues with that.

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    Lake Valley in the expected Utah earthquake. Salt Lake City’s Fix the Bricks facilitates seismic improvements for its residents URMs in an effort to save lives by reducing the number of deaths, injured and trapped after an earthquake. Preparedness starts at home. Act now!

    Salt Lake Fix the Brickshttps://www.slc.gov/em/fix-the-bricks/

    There’s a roughly 50% chance that a magnitude 6 or larger earthquake will shake the Wasatch Front in the next half century. And many older structures would not withstand it.

    In order to prevent that from happening, contractors can tie the roof to the walls and strap down the chimney to prevent it from tipping, among other strategies. But that can be expensive, running homeowners $15,000 to $20,000.

    Bob CareyThe Utah Division of Emergency Management's earthquake program manager

    Uniform Building Code (UBC): In 1927, the first edition of the UBC contained seismic provisions in its appendix for new construction, but it was not widely adopted. In the middle part of the 20th century, cities typically maintained unique seismic design requirements in local ordinances that were loosely similar to parts of the UBC and local variations in practice resulted in many inconsistencies. By the late 1970’s, most local governments were adopting various editions of the UBC with local amendments, but consistency in adoption dates and editions didn’t emerge until the 1980’s.

    Fred TurnerRevisiting Earthquake Lessons - Unreinforced Masonry Buildings

    Masonry is the most used material in the historical buildings of the European architectural heritage. The mechanical properties of these structures are often low, due to both the texture of the masonry and the poor quality of the mortar.

    Elena Ferretti and Giovanni PascaleSome of the Latest Active Strengthening Techniques for Masonry Buildings: A Critical Analysis

    There are no guarantees of safety during earthquakes, but properly constructed and strengthened homes are far less likely to collapse or be damaged during earthquakes.

    Homeowner’s Guide to Earthquake SafetyPublished by the California Seismic Safety Commission 2020 edition

    Whatever the earthquake danger may be, it is a thing to be dealt with on the ground by skillful engineering, not avoided by flight…

    G. K. Gilbert, USGS ca. 1906

    scenario modeling of a major (magnitude [M] 7.0) earthquake on the Salt Lake City segment of the Wasatch fault zone predicts 2,000 to 2,500 fatalities, 7,400 to 9,300 life-threatening injuries, 55,400 buildings completely damaged, 21 million tons of debris, and $33.2 billion in estimated short-term, direct economic losses

    M. Leon Berrett, P.E.