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Optimum Seismic sees progress on earthquake safety challenges in 2021


December 29, 2021

Highlights show advances in several important areas of resilience

As 2021 draws to a close, it is likely that this year will be remembered as a good one for earthquake safety. Not for what did happen, but for what didn’t happen.

While other natural hazards took heavy tolls throughout the nation, earthquakes were relatively quiet this year. That’s something to be thankful for.

Does that mean earthquake threats are over? Certainly not.

Earthquakes remain a constant threat. Disastrous quakes can strike virtually anywhere at any time. Indeed, some believe the lack of major earthquake activity is a sign that stresses are building on quake faults that crisscross our region. If so, the probability of major temblors may be growing more likely.

Perhaps our greatest earthquake threat is complacency. Too many fail to take earthquake threats seriously until it is too late. Individuals and communities bet their buildings, rental income, businesses and financial security on a hope that earthquakes won’t destroy it all.

Instead, we need to recognize that earthquakes are our greatest natural hazard and remain vigilant. The other natural disasters that struck our nation in 2021 – fires, floods, hurricanes and tornados — showed us once again that we need to act now to safeguard our housing, businesses, communities and our overall economy by making them more resilient to earthquake risks.

Earthquake retrofit engineering and construction work was still being done on older, soft-story apartment and commercial buildings throughout California in 2021 despite economic uncertainties and health concerns. As an example, the City of Los Angeles announced during the year that retrofits have been completed on some 7,000 of the approximately 14,000 buildings that were required to do earthquake retrofits in 2015. In addition, new buildings were being constructed with improved engineering designs that can enable them to withstand earthquake shocks and return to operation more quickly after a temblor.

Optimum Seismic Adjusts to Covid-19

A second full year of the Covid-19 was a major challenge for many general contractors in the construction business in 2021. The impacts of the lingering pandemic caused many property owners to feel insecure about their income streams and postpone discretionary capital improvement projects.

Optimum Seismic endeavored to keep the essential work of constructing seismic retrofits on apartment and commercial buildings moving forward during the year. Optimum Seismic worked proactively to inform property owners and business leaders of the importance of making their buildings and businesses more resilient to avoid significant economic losses and potential earthquake liability costs.

While other companies chose to lay off or furlough employees, Optimum Seismic searched for a better way. The company followed state and local health and safety protocols, combined crews to get projects done faster, worked harder to gain new clients and projects, expedited completion of engineering plans and got construction underway quickly on newer projects.

After a difficult 2021, Optimum Seismic is hopeful that the worst of the pandemic will pass during 2022. Recent months have shown positive business indicators. Changes made to get through the Covid 19 slowdown – working faster and competing harder — should actually help Optimum Seismic do even better in the future.

Webinars Educate Business Leaders On Resilience

The Resilience Advantage webinar series, sponsored by Optimum Seismic, provided important information on advances in earthquake safety to thousands of viewers throughout the year.

Some 70 experts in architecture, building safety, community development, engineering, government, higher education, housing, law and seismology participated in the program. They addressed topics such as retrofits for existing buildings, advances in new construction, resilient communities, earthquake liability, public policy initiatives, and California’s earthquake threats.

Optimum Seismic’s major partners in the production of the educational series for business and community leaders included: the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles County Business Federation, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, and the U.S. Resiliency Council.

Episodes of The Resilience Advantage series can be viewed at www.optimumseismic.com/the-resilience-advantage/episodes/

Optimum Seismic Sponsors U.S. Green Building Council – LA

Becoming a Gold Sponsor of the U.S. Green Building Council – LA was a significant step by Optimum Seismic in its efforts to support the growing green movement in 2021.

The sponsorship reflected Optimum Seismic’s belief that sustainability and resilience to natural disasters go hand in hand. For instance, experts believe it does little good to build a green structure that conserves energy and other resources if it fails during an earthquake and has to be rebuilt. In fact, societies and buildings need to be resilient in order to be considered truly sustainable.

As a USGBC-LA Gold sponsor, Optimum Seismic will help contribute to the transformation of the building industry and the future of healthy green schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

This continued involvement in the green movement reflects the Optimum Seismic team’s earlier accomplishments in sustainable design, which were honored with the California Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership award for taking a sustainable approach toward community development and environmental restoration in the 534-acre Dos Lagos mixed-use development in the City of Corona.

In collaboration with its sponsors, USGBC-LA hosted more than 150 programs with a combined total of over 11,000 attendees in 2020. Optimum Seismic looks forward to continued progress in transforming Southern California into a more sustainable region for all in 2022 and beyond.

In addition to becoming a Gold sponsor, Optimum Seismic served as a Champion sponsor for USGBC-LA’s Green Gala event held at Union Station in Los Angeles. The Green Gala event was attended by more than 350 business and government leaders as well as others interested in securing a more sustainable future for the Los Angeles region.

Optimum Seismic’s Community Involvement

Community involvement was an important aspect of the Optimum Seismic team’s activities in 2021.

Optimum Seismic continued its financial support for Los Angeles Metropolitan YMCA by donating $25,000 to programs designed to help individuals and families in the ongoing battle against food insecurity. Optimum Seismic also challenged other local businesses to make similar donations to YMCA-LA. Other YMCA-LA programs provided holiday toys for children. Optimum team members were on hand to help with these impactful programs in the Crenshaw, East Los Angeles, Maywood, Hollywood and Mid-Valley areas.

Other Optimum Seismic community involvement projects included: scholarships and professional organization memberships for engineering students, support for programs advancing women and minorities in business, and supporting local Chambers of Commerce and other organizations.

Optimum Seismic also worked to strengthen 12 local non-profit organizations in the Southeast Los Angeles Collaborative (SELA) by sponsoring informational videos on their operations.

After making a number of advances despite the challenges encountered by many businesses in 2021, the Optimum Seismic team looks forward to building on its momentum going into 2022.

About Optimum Seismic, Inc.

The Optimum Seismic team has been making California cities safer since 1984 by providing full-service earthquake engineering, steel fabrication and construction services for multifamily residential, commercial and industrial buildings. With more than 3,500 earthquake retrofit and renovation projects completed, Optimum Seismic’s work includes soft-story multifamily apartments, unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings and tilt-up, non-ductile concrete and steel moment frame buildings. To arrange a complimentary assessment of your building’s earthquake resilience, contact Optimum Seismic at (833) 978-7664 or visit optimumseismic.com.