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Feds look at LA Unified for help with national seismic program

Mike Szymanski | August 10, 2015

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school-constructionFederal officials came to LAUSD in the past few weeks to gather ideas for a national seismic safety program.

“The feds wanted to see how various government agencies do their seismic evaluations and they were very impressed with the way we do them,” said Roger Finstad, the Director of Maintenance and Operations at LAUSD. “There are some key parts of what we do that they will use to incorporate into their federal guidelines.”

Meanwhile, the seismic work on district school buildings is in progress, with those vulnerable to seismic events being retrofitted, Finstad said.

Officials from the Government Accountability Office and Department of Homeland Security visited the LAUSD Maintenance and Operations department to review how the seismic studies were handled.

“There is more of an awareness that earthquakes occur in other parts of the country, not just California, and that some buildings need to be retrofitted accordingly,” Finstad said.

Finstad said there is ongoing work on the state’s AB 300 list that identifies 667 buildings constructed before 1976 that may require retrofits. The buildings were ranked by priority, looking at three risk factors: age, type of construction and proximity to an earthquake fault.

“The seismic work is in progress,” Finstad said. “Structural retrofits are in progress. The evaluations of the buildings are in progress, and we are in the process of working on them.”

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