Damage to privately owned buildings is one of the most significant risks from a major earthquake. To build new buildings better and to prepare our existing homes, offices, shops and other structures for an earthquake, we need to reform our building code to require higher standards for building safety and post-earthquake reoccupancy. The Office of Resilience and Capital Planning is working with a coalition of City officials, design professionals and community members to amend the San Francisco Building Code to require higher standards for new buildings, considering not only basic safety, but also post-disaster usage and occupancy.
Building codes exist to set the minimum standard for buildings in a city. San Francisco has a long history of progressively amending the code to respond to local needs and pressing challenges.
Developing sound policies that address both earthquake risk and the building code’s real-life impact on San Franciscans requires a combination of expert-led technical development and community input. Tenant displacement, parking issues and financing options, in addition to earthquake damage risk reduction, were all considered when previous code changes were adopted. New code advancements will follow this tradition.
More information on the Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS), which guides San Francisco’s work in the area of seismic safety, can be found here.