California scientists to release list of quake-vulnerable buildings

Jan. 18, 2014 at 10:51 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- University of California scientists say they will release to Los Angeles city officials a list of about 1,500 buildings that may be at risk from an earthquake.

The existence of the list was reported three months ago but the researchers balked at releasing it because of concerns about liability, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

The list is comprised of concrete buildings built before 1980. The researchers estimated about 75 of the buildings could collapse in a major earthquake.

The buildings were not necessarily dangerous, but needed to be examined more closely, said Jack Moehle, a UC Berkeley engineering professor who led the research team. He noted the list was based on public information and researchers had not inspected any of the buildings.

The list contains information on the size, assessed value, number of stories, and type of use of each building.

It is expected to be released next week.

City building officials were initially rebuffed in their efforts to get a copy of the list after the Times reported its existence in October. Researchers said they would have to investigate the "legal and ethical constraints" of releasing what was then a preliminary report.

The research was funded by a $3.6 million federal grant.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti this week asked U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones to develop recommendations for retrofitting buildings, including those that are privately owned.

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