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1900s Victorian-style homes and buildings, renowned for their bay windows and unique San Francisco charm, have become a hazard to residents occupying these “soft story” buildings. Soft story are buildings that use either large windows, wide doors or any openings on the ground floor in place of solid walls (often required for stability and earthquake-proof engineering design) that are vulnerable to collapse due to their weak or “soft” infrastructure. During the Loma Prieta earthquake, much of the city destruction was from soft story buildings.

City officials and earthquake specialists have conducted research in the city of San Francisco and surrounding areas and concluded that 1 in 14 San Francisco buildings are soft story and have accumulated over 3,000 properties suspected of being soft story. Due to this discovery, a proposal have been submitted to City Hall to mandate property owners to carry out safety studies and retrofit if necessary.         

AAA Windows encourages home owners to earthquake-proof their home structure by upgrading to modern vinyl or fiberglass replacement windows and any other seismic retrofits or improvements.

By: Paul Doh

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