FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Press Contact: Gloria Chan, (415) 554-6926
As the Bay Area commemorates the upcoming 21st anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, the City and County of San Francisco announced the establishment of a program, called the San Francisco Building Occupancy Resumption Program (SF-BORP), which will strengthen the City’s emergency response and recovery efforts by conducting seismic assessments and speeding up the process for inspecting the structural safety of critical City-owned buildings after a major earthquake. The seismic assessments will provide important information on a building’s performance allowing the City to provide uninterrupted vital services after an earthquake. It will also help the City establish capital funding priorities.
“San Francisco is committed to prioritizing the retrofit and repair of buildings and facilities that are seismically unsafe. This effort will enhance our emergency preparation and provide vital information so when the next large earthquake strikes, our engineers can quickly evaluate a building’s structural integrity and get it back into service,” said Ed Lee, City Administrator and Chair of the Capital Planning Committee.
SF Building Occupancy Resumption Program (BORP) is the first of its kind for public buildings in California. SF-BORP will pre-certify structural inspectors, create secure building drawings, identify a structural system, and develop and inspection plan for city-owned buildings; thereby allowing engineers to quickly determine whether a building can be restored for occupancy so that the City can continue to operate and provide key emergency services in an event of a major earthquake. The long term goal is to develop an inspection plan and establish a process for recently, purchased, renovated, and newly constructed municipal buildings. SFBORP will conduct post earthquake inspection plans on approximately ten buildings by June 2011. This program is similar to the Department of Building Inspections’ Building Occupancy Resumption Program (BORP) already in place for buildings/homes in the private sector.
“With the recent passage of GO bonds to seismically strengthen vital public facilities, such as a new General Hospital, a new Public Safety and Police facility, and the retrofitting of neighborhood fire stations, this is an excellent time to extend the BORP program to essential public buildings. By acting now we’ll be better prepared when the next Big One strikes,” said Vivian L. Day, Director of the Department of Building Inspection.
SF-BORP is being implemented by the City Administrator’s Office in coordination with the Department of Building Inspection, Department of Public Works, and Department of Real Estate. In 1993, a few years after Loma Prieta, San Francisco published its first seismic assessment of more than 200 public buildings. This study assigned each building a seismic hazard rating based on potential damage caused by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake along the San Andreas Fault. The study identified 124 buildings at risk of collapse or suffering from major damage; approximately 60 percent of these have since been replaced or seismically upgraded.
“Following the Loma Prieta, Northridge, and other earthquakes of large magnitudes, it took several days and even weeks to determine if a building can be re-occupied. By pre-certifying inspection teams and giving them detailed guidance on what potential deficiencies to look for, we can quickly assess our buildings and have them operational within hours or days,” said Fuad Sweiss, City Engineer and Deputy Director of Engineering for the Department of Public Works.
The Capital Planning Committee is chaired by the City Administrator and made up of the directors from all of the major capital departments, the Mayor’s Office, the President of the Board of Supervisors, the Controller, and the Planning Director. It oversees the development of the City’s $26 billion Capital Plan and makes recommendations to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors on capital expenditures.
For more information, visit www.onesanfrancisco.org.