Seismic improvements to an existing building tend to be complicated projects.

The seismic fix itself may merely be the proverbial “tip of the iceberg” for a more involving project. Implementing a fix can be a technical challenge, but what is unique to this type of work is that the access required for the fix almost always affects how people live or work in their building.

Seismic improvements usually require localized removal and reinstallation of existing parts of the building, not just for access but because their location conflicts with the fix to be made. This includes plaster, drywall, wood trim, and floor finishes; weather barriers like roofing and exterior claddings; and electrical and mechanical systems such as pipes, ducts, and electrical wiring.

Smart owners and building managers quickly realize the benefit of hiring their contractor early in the design and planning process to team together with their structural engineer and architect. Done well, the result is a seismic improvement project that is cost effective and successfully mitigates the inconveniences caused by the work.

An experienced contractor will recognize how the retrofit affects both the building and its occupants, and will develop a responsible work plan and schedule. A good contractor will thoroughly investigate in as much as is feasible, the actual existing conditions. They will provide guidance in budget strategy, and provide accurate cost information so that informed decisions are made. A great contractor brings expertise to the design team that pushes for creative solutions and together with the architect and engineer produces a project on time and under budget.