California Mulls Delay in Seismic Requirements for Hospitals

Proposal might give hospitals until 2037 to ensure they remain operable after major earthquake

By Dan Hounsell, Senior Editor, Facility Market
July 26, 2021

Improved resilience among institutional and commercial facilities has taken on greater importance in the last 17 months as facility managers have worked diligently to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and return to operations. For California hospitals, the drive to improve resilience related to the threat of earthquakes -- a high priority throughout the state -- might not be as urgent as it has been.

A proposal from the California Hospital Association circulating in the state Capitol would weaken existing seismic standards for hospitals, giving hospitals another seven years — until 2037 — to ensure their buildings remain operable after a major earthquake and limiting the required upgrades to buildings that support emergency services, according to The Los Angeles Times.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office, in private negotiations at the state Capitol, has supported the association’s request for more time to do less work, according to multiple sources involved in the discussions in Sacramento who were not authorized to speak about them.

Existing law requires that by 2030, every hospital building is capable of operating following an earthquake.

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