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Inspecting Your Soft-Story Solution for Integrity

Inspection is the last step in the soft-story retrofit process. This critical step ensures that the soft-story retrofit was properly designed and constructed to meet the retrofit design codes and guidelines. As Inspectors, you are the liaison between the building owners, designers, contractors and the city.

Video Soft-Story Retrofit Solution
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Understanding the San Francisco Ordinance and Retrofit Solutions
Video Soft-Story Retrofit Solution
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Understanding the Los Angeles Ordinance and Retrofit Solutions

Inspecting Soft-Story Retrofits According to the Mandate

Soft-story retrofit inspection criteria will differ from city to city depending on that city's soft-story mandate. Inspectors will need to be familiar with their city's guidelines and ensure that those guidelines are adhered to during the soft-story retrofit.

To find out more information about your city's mandate, refer to the corresponding soft-story mandate informational website.

Partnering with Soft-Story Retrofit Providers

Understanding the role that each provider plays in the soft-story retrofit process will assist inspectors in knowing what to look for during the inspection phase. Other providers, such as designers and contractors, can be a great source of information regarding inspection criteria.

Some cities, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, have hosted earthquake fairs that bring together designers, contractors, financial institutions and other vendors to bring awareness and education regarding the soft-story mandate.

To the right are links to these retrofit fairs as well as additional resources to find professionals who undertake soft-story retrofits.

Distinguishing Soft-Story Retrofits Products in Design Plans

Inspectors need to understand how certain products are designed and installed to know how they will impact the inspection criteria. We design products that are both easy to install and inspect. Our Strong Frame® special moment frame, for example, is an all-bolted connection and thus requires no on-site weld inspection. Our Strong-Wall® Wood Shearwall with its front, side and back access holdown makes inspection easier when framing surrounding the shearwalls has already been constructed.

Simpson Strong-Tie has an extensive line of soft-story retrofit products that include Strong Frame moment frames, Strong-Wall shearwalls and a broad line of wood connectors and anchoring systems that can help reinforce your soft-story building against collapse.

See our product page for more details about each product and how they work together to strengthen your building's resiliency.

Retrofit Product Resources

Understanding Soft-Story Retrofit Products Installation

Inspectors need to understand how soft-story retrofit products are installed to know what inspections to look for. Knowing how products should be properly installed will help inspectors identify miss-installations that can compromise a building's resiliency.

To see how our Strong Frame special moment frame and Strong-Wall Wood Shearwall are installed, visit our video library.

Retrofit Installation Resources

How to Install a Special Moment Frame in Soft-Story Building Retrofits
Watch Now: How to Install a Special Moment Frame in Soft-Story Building Retrofits

Inspecting Soft-Story Retrofits

Ensuring a proper inspection of a soft-story retrofit requires that inspectors understand the codes and requirements and how the retrofit was designed and installed to meet those codes and requirements. A soft-story retrofit requires a Special Inspector be coordinated by the building owner. Some cities have put together a list of Special Inspectors. The City and County of San Francisco Department of Building Inspection has issued a list of Recognized Special Inspection and Testing Agencies.