Santa Monica

Non-Ductile Concrete Structures

The city of Santa Monica developed a seismic retrofit plan following the 1994 Northridge earthquake. It was the first city in the Southern California region to establish aggressive non-ductile building regulations. However, many buildings within Santa Monica did not comply with this ordinance.

To update outdated ordinance, the city of Santa Monica passed a comprehensive seismic retrofit program on March 28, 2017. In addition to non-ductile concrete buildings, the program also addresses unreinforced masonry, concrete tilt-up, steel moment frame, and wood-frame soft-story buildings.  Amendments to the seismic retrofit program regarding non-ductile concrete buildings can be found in Chapter 8.80 of the Ordinance.


Santa Monica’s mandatory non-ductile concrete ordinance applies to existing buildings that have the following characteristics:

  • Reinforced concrete construction
  • Built under building code standards enacted before January 11, 1977

Buildings which have already completed all required seismic retrofit work prior to the adoption of this ordinance, with lateral load resisting analysis, structural design plans, and valid final approval from the City are exempt from the ordinance requirements.

In total, approximately 2,000 buildings in Santa Monica have been identified to fall within the scope of the City’s comprehensive seismic retrofit plan, including approximately 70 non-ductile concrete structures. The inventory of non-ductile concrete buildings has been made public by the Santa Monica Planning and Community Development Department.


The city of Santa Monica requires that non-ductile concrete building retrofits adhere to the timeline shown below. The timeline for each building type is initiated following service of the Order to the Owner. The noticing schedule is available here (updated August 2017).


Service of the Order to the Building Owner


Deadline to submit structural evaluation report

4.5 YEARS AFTER ORDER Deadline to submit application for building permit and plans
10 YEARS AFTER ORDER Deadline for final approval

In the News

LA Times: Santa Monica Adopts Nation's Most Extensive Earthquake Retrofit Plan

LA Times: Santa Monica Offers L.A. a Cautionary Tale on Quake Vigilance

Infographic: Look at How Apartments Can Collapse During an Earthquake (LA Times)



Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
Phone: 626.696.4650

Santa Monica City Clerk
1685 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: 310.458.8211