The City of Seattle is holding a listening session for developers and owners of URM buildings for a proposed new Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program to support seismic retrofits of URM buildings. The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) and Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) are hosting this meeting on Tuesday, February 27 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. in the Bertha Knight Landes Room in Seattle City Hall. You can register and view the meeting agenda for this in-person event on the Unreinforced Masonry Buildings website.
In June, SDCI conducted two public webinars on the draft Unreinforced Masonry (URM) Retrofit Technical Standard. This document is the first step in establishing minimum seismic standards for the earthquake retrofit of Seattle’s 1,100 vintage brick buildings which are prone to collapse in an earthquake due to lack of structural reinforcements. The draft URM Retrofit Technical Standard will inform the future mandatory retrofit ordinance. Be sure to check out the slides and recordings from these presentations.
To support building owners that are eager to begin the retrofit process, SDCI is moving forward with adopting components of the draft URM Retrofit Technical Standard with Director’s Rule 6-2023, Alternate Method for the Seismic Improvement of Unreinforced Masonry Buildings (URMs). The draft Director’s Rule is available now for public comment.
After several years of collaborating with seismologists, geologists, and geotechnical and structural engineers, the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) is sharing its draft Unreinforced Masonry (URM) Technical Standard. This document is the first step in establishing minimum seismic standards for the earthquake retrofit of Seattle’s 1,100 vintage brick buildings which are prone to collapse in an earthquake due to lack of structural reinforcements.
In 2021, an effort spearheaded by the Alliance for Safety, Affordability, and Preservation (ASAP!) and Councilmember Herbold resulted in the passing of Joint Resolution 32033. That resolution declared the intent of City Council and the Mayor to establish a mandatory retrofit program and directed SDCI to develop a retrofit standard. While a mandatory ordinance is still a few years away, this Technical Standard will serve as a voluntary option for URM owners wanting to retrofit their building. This Technical Standard will be used to develop a future mandatory retrofit ordinance.
DPD has reconvened the URM Policy Committee to review the Benefits Cost Analysis (BCA) and to confirm or amend draft recommendations for a mandatory retrofit policy. The committee held two meetings in March to hear a presentation on the BCA and to start a discussion on how the results may trigger changes to the draft recommendations.
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.