The City of San Francisco has begun publicly shaming building owners who have not made necessary retrofits to their soft-story or wood-framed apartment buildings, or submitted a city questionnaire regarding their building's earthquake safety. New, red-lettered signs in multiple languages alert all who enter that the building is "In Violation of the Requirements of the San Francisco Building Code Regarding Earthquake Safety."

Furthermore, the signs say the owner(s) "have not complied with the Mandatory Soft Story Retrofit Program" which was made law last year.

Monday was the deadline for owners to comply, as the LA Times reports, and since then the city has been slapping the signs up on the roughly 650 buildings whose owners have not responded. In total, about 90 percent of owners (of 6,000 buildings) have complied with the law which required them to fill out seismic retrofit screening forms to determine if they need further study, and/or retrofitting.

For those who don't get the distinction about "soft stories," these are typically wood-framed multi-unit dwellings where the ground floor is a garage or other open space without much structural support. In big earthquakes, it's buildings like these that can be especially vulnerable to shaking, as was shown in the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, especially in the Marina. As the AP notes, three San Francisco deaths (a couple and a baby) were the result of such an apartment building collapse in that quake.

Owners and some tenants are a little put off by the signs, which make it look like the buildings are on the verge of collapse any minute. But yeah, when the city sends you a form, fill it out!

[LA Times]
[Associated Press via ABC 7]