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Report: 39 San Francisco Buildings in Quake Danger

Friday, July 6, 2018

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The U.S Geological Survey recently released a report outlining dozens of San Francisco high-rises that would be at risk if a major earthquake were to occur.

What Was Found

The report (titled “The HayWired Earthquake Scenario—Engineering Implications”) lists 39 buildings that it says could buckle in a major earthquake—basing measurements off of the 1906 Great San Francisco earthquake, which was a magnitude 7.8, and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, a 6.9.

The study notes that many of the skyscrapers considered to be in danger are welded steel moment-frame buildings, a building technique that’s no longer used.

© iStock.com / heyengel

The U.S Geological Survey recently released a report outlining dozens of San Francisco high-rises that would be at risk if a major earthquake were to occur.

While codes were rewritten after the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles fractured 60 high-rises, a large cluster of buildings in San Francisco’s downtown that were built between 1960 and 1994 have not been retrofitted. Many other municipalities made such fixes mandatory, including Santa Monica, which is giving owners of steel-frame buildings 20 years to complete costly retrofits.

Large-Scale Problem

“This is an issue that structural engineers should have been dealing with continuously since the mid-1990s and we just dropped it,” Keith Porter, an earthquake engineering expert who helped lead the USGS study, told The New York Times, which sifted through the 400-plus-page report. “We don’t know how to deal with a problem this big.”

A San Francisco city administrator noted that the city is working in the assessment phase of many of the buildings, but that “There are only so many engineers in this city. There’s only so much money."

Some notable buildings include Salesforce West; 555 California, partially owned by President Donald J. Trump; Transamerica Pyramid; and the San Francisco Marriott.

The complete list includes:

1. Hartford Building, 650 California

2. Beal Bank Building, 180 Sansome

3. Bechtel Building, 50 Beale

4. 44 Montgomery

5. 425 California

6. 555 California

7. McKesson Plaza, One Post

8. Pacific Gas and Electric Building, 77 Beale

9. One Embarcadero Center, 355 Clay

10. Transamerica Pyramid, 600 Montgomery

11. 100 Pine

12. 211 Main

13. First Market Tower, 525 Market

14. 425 Market

15. Two Embarcadero Center

16. 221 Main

17. California Automobile Association Building, 100 Van Ness (The owners of this building dispute this listing, saying that a 2013 retrofit brought the building up to current codes.)

18. Chevron Tower (Market Center)

19. Spear Tower (One Market Plaza)

20. Steuart Tower (One Market Plaza)

21. Three Embarcadero Center, 155 Clay

22. Shaklee Terraces, 444 Market

23. 333 Market

24. 595 Market

25. 201 California

26. Two Transamerica Center, 505 Sansome

27. 101 California

28. Telesis Tower, One Montgomery

29. 1 Ecker Square, 1 Ecker

30. 100 Spear

31. 101 Montgomery

32. Citicorp Center, One Sansome

33. 50 Fremont Center

34. 333 Bush

35. 345 California

36. 301 Howard

37. Hilton San Francisco Hotel, 333 O’Farrell

38. San Francisco Marriott, 55 Four

39. Embarcadero West, 275 Battery


Tagged categories: Condominiums/High-Rise Residential; Disasters; Health and safety; Safety

Comment from Karl Kardel, (7/6/2018, 2:28 PM)

I rebuilt a 12 story, concrete high rise in downtown Oakland after Loma Prieta. Engineering assumptions shown in design should be considered besides the problematic welds. This building was actually two, separated by by seismic joints. Inside were heavy metal plates that fell out of the ceilings, narrowly missing seniors. The massive a.c. units sat across this connection, on which the steel beams were turned to 'ravioli.' Clearly the design engineers thought the building movement would be linear not side to side and up and down. Karl Kardel Consultancy.

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