Santa Monica Non-Ductile Concrete Ordinance

The City Council of Santa Monica Non-Ductile Concrete Retrofit Ordinance is applicable to any buildings composed of concrete columns, walls, beams and floor systems that are brittle in nature and unlikely to endure shocks from heavy seismic activity. This ordinance is designed to minimize risk of injury or loss of life that could result should an earthquake occur. Ordinance compliance will usually involve adding new and/or reinforcing of the existing lateral force resisting system to achieve the required ductility and strength of the structural system.


Santa Monica City Ordinance No. 2527 states that the property owner of a structure designated as a non-ductile concrete building must meet the following time limits, starting from the receipt date of the Order to Comply:

  • 3 years: Structural evaluation report
  • 12 years: Application for building permit and submission of plans
  • 20 years: Final approval

Complete construction and obtain a Certificate of Compliance.

Phases of Retrofitting

  1. Preliminary Building Checklist: The preliminary building checklist identifies the building as a potential non-ductile building and formally confirms whether it is in need of retrofitting
  2. Engineering: An extensive and comprehensive engineering process includes material and soil testing, structural analysis, schematic design, and calculation of the actual design for the retrofitting system itself, i.e. what is going to be done. There is a need to explore the seismic load capacity, mapping the reinforcement of the building and what the structural elements of the building are made of (floor system, column system, gravity load and more). After the analysis is complete, it is sent to the local municipality retrofit program for review.
  3. Construction: Once the local city approves the analysis, the execution of the actual construction can begin. How long the construction will take depends on a number of factors, including whether the building is vacant or not.

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