The City of Seattle is moving forward with the process to require the earthquake retrofit of its 1100 unreinforced masonry buildings (URMs) which are prone to collapse in an earthquake. In 2021, City Council passed Resolution 32033 declaring the intent to develop a mandatory earthquake retrofit ordinance with a resource program to support URM building owners and tenants.
On January 12, the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), in partnership with the Alliance for Safety, Affordability, and Preservation (ASAP!), hosted a meeting to discuss the timeline and next steps needed to be successful in ordinance adoption.
The proposed timeline is focused on the adoption of the mandatory retrofit ordinance in the fall of 2024. In order to meet this deadline, the following has been suggested:
- Development of a minimum retrofit standard to increase the life safety of unreinforced masonry buildings. The Technical Briefing Working Group has been established to provide input and ask questions prior to finalization of the standard currently in development by SDCI. The draft technical standard will be available spring 2023.
- Development of funding resources to increase capacity of URM building owners to invest in resilience. The Funding Working Group has been established to identify grants, credits, and financing available to support earthquake retrofits.
- Development of resources to support URM building owner and tenant needs during the retrofit process. The Owner and Tenant Needs Working Group has been established to mitigate tenant displacement, to support and guide building owners, and meet the needs of underserved stakeholders.
- Development of clear and accessible communications on the need for earthquake retrofits and compliance requirements of the ordinance. The Communications Working Group has been established to develop a comprehensive communication strategy.
If you are interested in participating in any of the above working groups, please contact the new URM Program Manager, Amanda Hertzfeld, at Amanda.Hertzfeld@Seattle.gov.