Wednesday, December 01, 2010

"to voluntarily seismically retrofit"

It began more than three years ago, when a half-ton piece of stucco fell from the Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport.

Engineers scrutinized the structure and discovered the arched landmark — the inspiration for the jet-set architecture in "The Jetsons" — was at risk for collapse or irreparable damage in an earthquake.

The discovery came not from a government mandate but because the airport's owner, Los Angeles World Airports, a city agency, decided to reevaluate the structural fitness of the half-century-old structure in light of the stucco failure.

The revelation resulted in a $10-million effort to voluntarily seismically retrofit the building. To some earthquake experts and structural engineers, the renovation underscores the need for property owners to focus on seismic retrofitting even when it is not mandated by building codes or government laws.

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