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City Officials Want List of Unsafe Concrete Buildings

Researchers have a list of at-risk buildings in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles city officials want to work with researchers who have a list of concrete buildings they've identified as at-risk when an earthquake strikes.
Los Angeles city officials want to work with researchers who have a list of concrete buildings they've identified as at-risk when an earthquake strikes.

Scientists who have prepared a list of concrete buildings that could be at risk of collapsing in Los Angeles in a major earthquake have agreed to work with city officials on how they might use the research data once it's formally published, it was reported Wednesday.

"We're getting the published research, which includes a list," Jeff Millman, spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti, told the Los Angeles Times after a meeting yesterday between the scientists and the city's top building official. "There will be additional discussions with the UC researchers after publication about how the city might use this data."

It remains unclear whether the researchers, led by UC Berkeley engineering professor Jack Moehle, will publish and give the city an inventory they compiled that identifies about 1,500 concrete structures built before 1980 that need further study to determine their risks of collapse in an earthquake, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Structural engineers have said hundreds could die if even one concrete building collapsed. Seismic experts say obtaining a list like Moehle's is critical for the city to begin tackling the problem.

The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety asked for the list at the direction of Garcetti. In a joint statement after Tuesday's meeting, the UC researchers and the mayor's office said: "The department and the researchers agreed to coordinate regarding how the city might use data generated by the study following scientific publication."

"It is our goal as researchers to have our work play a positive role in improving life and safety in California and around the world," Moehle said in the statement.

The list of buildings was produced by Moehle's team as part of an ongoing study backed by a $3.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation. By the most conservative estimate, as many as 5 percent, or 75 buildings, could collapse in a major earthquake, according to the scientists' figures, The Times reported.

- City News Service

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