Registered letters have been sent to property owners and some tenants of 17 buildings in Martinez, Calif., in an effort to enforce an ordinance that requires seismic retrofitting of unreinforced masonry buildings. According to the Martinez News-Gazette:

The Martinez City Council adopted an ordinance in 2009, mandating the seismic retrofitting of all high-risk unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings within six years. All seismic strengthening work, required by approved construction drawings, must be completed and receive final approval from the City Building Official no later than Aug. 15, 2015.

The letters, sent by registered mail and dated Jan. 7, states “our records indicate that you are the owner of an unreinforced masonry building that has not submitted engineered construction drawings and/or completed the approved seismic strengthening work on your building. Please be advised that all owners of unreinforced masonry buildings are required to comply with the requirements of the ordinance by the stated deadlines. We are aware that some unreinforced masonry structures are currently listed for sale. Placing a property on the market for sale does not alleviate the requirement to comply with the Seismic Hazard Retrofit Ordinance.”

The report notes that while many of the 17 buildings are currently in some state of retrofit, those that have not been updated by the deadline may be vacated. Martinez is less than 40 miles form Napa, where an Aug. 24, 2014 earthquake did significant damage to some unreinforced masonry buildings. Read More