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We provide well-thought out designs, carefully customized for each subject property.

There are multiple retrofit methods that are suitable for complying with the various ordinances.  The best method for any given situation depends on many factors.  These include the geometry of the building, the load demand at the location where the retrofit is to take place, potential impact on parking accessibility, ease of construction, etc.  At LFVDesign we take the time to analyze the structure with all these factors in mind, so that the retrofit system we ultimately design is the one best suited for the building.  This approach reduces unnecessary construction costs and helps prevent construction delays.  We are always educating ourselves on new approaches, systems and materials as they become available, to insure we can always provide the best solution possible for the subject building.

Considering hiring a 'design/build' firm? Read this first.

Since the original LA ordinance went into effect, countless firms have "popped up" which offer a one stop approach to the retrofit process.  They are essentially builders, but they offer approved engineering plans as part of their services.  This approach may sound compelling to building owners who would like to simplify the process by hiring one firm that will take care of the entire process.


However, in this scenario, the building owner has no way of knowing if they are getting  the best value for their investment.  There is no incentive for the contractor to make sure their 'in house' engineer is proposing the most efficient or cost-effective retrofit design, and they are likely to "pad" their initial bid because they don't have approved plans to work from.

A different approach is to hire an independent Engineer whose main focus is to provide the most efficient design for the specific situation.  Once the Engineer has provided you, the owner, with City approved plans, you can then use these plans to get construction bids from multiple builders.  Since they will all be using the same plans as the basis for their estimates, this allows the owner to compare "apples to apples" when deciding who to hire to do the work.  

The Apartment Owner's Association (AOA) states in the May 2017 issue of their newsletter:

There are two general methods among Soft-Story retrofit companies

  • The first method is separating the engineering design and construction into two individual contracts (similar to city’s break-down of the process).

  • The second method is doing the engineering and construction under one single contract (design-build). The first method which engineering and construction are contracted separately are preferred among many as it gives property owner the freedom to get accurate construction bids after engineering plans being approved by the City. The second method that contracts engineering and construction in one contract appeals to certain group of property owners who don’t mind paying an extra cost that retrofitting companies add to the overall cost because of uncertainties involved in the non-existence of engineering plans at the time of their bid. 

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