Structural Focus is leading the way in the establishment of post-disaster recovery programs for building owners in Southern California. In 1989, while working in San Francisco with his previous company, David Cocke, SE served as a consultant to the City during the months following the Loma Prieta earthquake. David evaluated and advised actions (next steps) for nearly 200 damaged buildings. This experience led to his belief that a better, more organized disaster planning program for building owners could help lower their risks and improve the community’s resilience.

Several years after the earthquake, the City and County of San Francisco established the first Building Occupancy Resumption Program (BORP) with the cooperation of the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California and San Francisco chapters of the Building Owners and Managers Association and the American Institute of Architects. Other Northern California cities followed suit.

Using the San Francisco BORP as a model, Structural Focus worked with DreamWorks Animation in Glendale to establish Southern California’s first BORP. Glendale’s Back to Business (B2B) Program set the standard for a new generation of BORPs in California. The innovative public-private partnership focuses on the importance of rapid recovery and reinforces the City’s dedication to getting private industry “back to business” as quickly as possible. The Dreamworks Animation B2B Program is an agreement between building owner, building official, and designated emergency inspector to allow private, post-earthquake emergency inspection satisfying accepted standards and procedures. Since 2013, Structural Focus has been providing structural engineering services related to the post-earthquake preparedness plan at the DreamWorks Animation Campus.

B2B Programs promote occupants’ safety, reduces business interruption, and supports our communities’ resilience. Structural Focus is currently working in numerous Southern California jurisdictions with a wide range of clients including Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, and the aforementioned DreamWorks Animation in Glendale, as well as other significant multi-building owners.

To pro-actively establish a post-earthquake response program, the structural engineers’ and owner‘s tasks include the following:

  • Establish an agreement with structural engineers and other first responders.
  • Survey all facilities to identify potential deficiencies.
  • Rank critical facilities to direct responses.
  • Set triggers for immediate response.
  • Collect the facility’s data (drawings, etc.) to make post-event inspections more accurate and efficient.
  • Create documents to assist first responders.
  • Train all those that could be affected to respond appropriately, such as occupants, security, building managers, facili­ties staff, senior management, etc.
  • Develop communication tools between responders to avoid conflicts while responding to post-earthquake events.
  • If a B2B Program is not already in place in the jurisdiction, help to establish a B2B program in the City that authorizes assigned structural engineers to provide a building’s official posting indicating its seismic safety status and immediate repairs.

To establish a B2B Program and reduce earthquake risks, an owner must take the following steps.

  1. Formalize an agreement between the owner and Structural Focus to put a program in place.
  2. If a B2B Program is not already in place in the jurisdiction, endorse the B2B concept and join Structural Focus at introduction meetings with the City’s Building Department.
  3. Select the most important buildings to be included in the program.
  4. Structural Focus will build a team of qualified post-event inspectors.
  5. Assisted by Structural Focus, complete building surveys and B2B building applications.
  6. Submit applications to the Building Department for review and approval.
  7. Once the application is approved, Structural Focus will organize annual updates with the owner and the Building Department addressing the program’s requirements and the buildings’ current status and immediate repairs needed.

Contact us for more information about our Planning for Post-Disaster Services and the B2B Program.