I own an apartment or multi-story business building
Large commercial buildings are well beyond the scope of this website. We encourage you to seek professional guidance in regards to all such buildings. If professionals determine your building is a URM, we encourage you to discuss options with a structural engineer trained in the type of building you own.
Here are a few thoughts to consider:
- In general, large, tall URMs have high risk of failure in a major earthquake.
- The death and injury risk is compounded because multi-story apartments and business buildings commonly have many occupants for many hours each day.
- Due to their high occupancy, we believe multi-story URM apartment buildings should be the highest priority for retrofitting or replacement among all types of buildings.
- We encourage owners of any older multi-story building to have their building evaluated by a professional structural engineer or trained builder. These buildings commonly have complex construction that may increase the risk of damage or collapse and that make retrofitting more complex.
- A URM is much more likely to be damaged beyond use or quick repair in even a moderate earthquake—meaning that it is much more likely that you will be out of business for months or even years than for a similar-size building constructed to modern earthquake building codes.
- Repairs to a URM after an earthquake (if it even can be repaired) tend to be more costly than repairs to a similar-size modern building.
- As the public becomes more aware of earthquake dangers, a building that meets modern building codes should generate a higher rental income or sale price than a similar-size URM on the same location; this may help you decide to replace or retrofit the URM.