Unreinforced Masonry Retrofit Policy Development Update

DPD has reconvened the URM Policy Committee to review the Benefits Cost Analysis (BCA) and to confirm or amend draft recommendations for a mandatory retrofit policy.  The committee held two meetings in March to hear a presentation on the BCA and to start a discussion on how the results may trigger changes to the draft recommendations. The BCA report and URM meeting notes are posted on DPD’s Unreinforced Masonry Buildings website.

The BCA showed that the life-safety benefit of the proposed retrofit standard is very effective, and reconfirmed our understanding that a broad retrofit program would be very costly. The report will be revised to include comments from seismic experts; however, overall findings will not substantially change. The committee recognizes that the BCA is only one piece of the policy discussion. They are very interested in finding incentives and funding to help owners complete a retrofit.  They expressed a desire to be creative about incentives to preserve community character and prevent the demolition of URM buildings.

DPD anticipates that the URM Policy Committee will create final recommendations in the second quarter of 2014. DPD will then present recommendations to City Council for direction.

If you would like to receive periodic updates on DPD’s URM policy development, please add your email to DPD’s listserv by signing up on our URM Policy webpage. You can also email your comments to DPD_URM_Policy_Committee_Comments@seattle.gov.

For more information, contact:

Sandy Howard
Project Manager, URM Retrofit Policy Development
(206) 233-7194