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City of Alameda Earns Award for Soft-Story Ordinance

The City of Alameda announced this week that the Northern California Chapter of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute has recognized the City with an award for its soft-story ordinance, enacted in March, 2009.

The award is the 2010 Award for Innovation and Exemplary Practice in Earthquake Risk Reduction and the ordinance requires all owners of multi-unit residential buildings that are classified by the City as a soft-story building to file a seismic analysis report prepared by an engineer. Building owners must also install earthquake-actuated gas shutoff valves and notify all the tenants of such installation. Apartment buildings with ground-level parking areas, and mixed-use commercial/residential buildings with ground-floor retail space with large window fronts are typical examples of soft-story buildings.

According to the City of Alameda, the Institute stated that the ordinance and the associated outreach efforts have raised awareness of the vulnerability of soft-story buildings. Alameda’s Building Official, Gregory J. McFann, accepted the award on behalf of the City.

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