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RE: Paso Robles Earthquake

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The most current version of the URM Status Report from the CSSC is at :


Of note is the continuing message by the California commission stressing the need for mandatory strengthening requirements. In tracking these reports to the legislature, the commissions’ message has been consistent; voluntary efforts will prolong the exposure.


The best we can do as a profession is to be consistent in our opinion about the inevitable damage of un-strengthened URM’s. Life loss is perhaps the siren to trigger un-thinking risk takers to action.


Barry H. Welliver



From: BCainse(--nospam--at) [mailto:BCainse(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 9:21 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Paso Robles Earthquake


The California Seismic Safety Commission reports periodically on the status of city and county efforts to abate URM hazards.  The latest report I could find on their website can be downloaded at:


The URM rules established by SB547 are contained in the California Government Code beginning with Section 8875. (Can be dwonloaded at by checking "Government Code" and searching for section 8875.)  This act basically requires:


1) All cities and counties within seismic zone 4 to IDENTIFY, by January 1, 1990, all potentially hazardous buildings (defined as unreinforced masonry buildings except those containing five living units or less).

2) Establish a mitigation program for potentially hazardous buildings including notification to the leagal owner "that the building is considered to be one of a general type of structure that historically has exhibited little resitance to earthquake motion."

3) Report to the appropriate legislative body of a city or county (typically the city council or Board of Supervisors) and file with the State Seismic Safety Commission, by January 1, 1990, "all information regarding potentially hazardous buildings and all hazardous building mitigation programs.

4) The transferor of any unreinforced masonry building with wood frame floors or roofs located in any city or county shakll deliver to the purchaser a copy the "Commercial Property Owner's Guide to Earthyquake Safety.

5) Within three months of the adoption of Section 8875.8, enacted at the 1991-92 Regular Session (of the State legislature), any owner who has received actual or constructive notice that a building located in seismic zone 4 is constructed of unreinforced masonry shall post a sign not less than 5 x 7 the following statement printed in 30-point bold type:  "This is an unreinforced masonry building.  Unreinforced masonry buildings may be unsafe in the event of a major earthquake."

6) Annual reports to the Legislature by the Seismic Safety Commission on the filing of unreinforced masonry mitigation programs for local jurisdictions.


The act gives local jurisdictions undertaking inventories and providing structural evaluations of potentially hazardous buildings pursuant to the act immunity from action or INACTION [emphasis added].



Bill Cain, S.E.

Albany, CA