DPD received draft recommendations from the Unreinforced Masonry (URM) Policy Committee in January 2013 for a mandatory seismic retrofit policy for URM buildings. The committee requested a cost-benefit analysis on alternatives. The purpose of the analysis is to provide information for final recommendations by the URM Policy Committee and to inform decisions by the Mayor and City Council on a mandatory retrofit program.
DPD hired the consultant team CollinsWoerman and Gibson Economics to perform the analysis to determine the total cost – social, environmental, and financial – of program alternatives on those affected by the URM Retrofit Policy. The analysis will also provide more information on financing and regulatory implementation options that would better align benefits and costs. We expect the final analysis to be completed by August or September, 2013.
The URM Policy Committee will reconvene in early fall 2013 to hear the results of the cost-benefit analysis. The committee will then make its final recommendations. We expect to take recommendations to City Council in the fall of 2013 and to begin drafting legislation in 2014.
To prepare for outreach and education when the ordinance becomes effective, DPD has hired consultants Site Story and TD Wang to run a pilot communication campaign in Columbia City in the fall of 2013. This work is in collaboration with the Seattle Office of Emergency Management and is supported by a FEMA grant. Columbia City was chosen for the pilot campaign due to the concentration of URM buildings and the community’s cultural and ethnic diversity. One of the outcomes of the pilot will be a toolkit that includes effective communication methods to help DPD staff reach out to Seattle’s diverse communities. DPD is also talking to community groups that would like to hear more about the draft recommendations.
If you would like to receive periodic updates on the policy development please add your email to DPD’s email list on our Unreinforced Masonry Buidings website. You can also send your comments to DPD_URM_Policy_Committee_Comments@seattle.gov, or contact Sandy Howard, the Project Manager for the URM Retrofit Policy development.