Older steel-frame buildings built between about 1960 and 1994 pose a very high collapse risk in earthquakes, owing to unexpectedly brittle welds. There are probably thousands of these buildings in seismically active states, including some of California’s biggest buildings. The structural engineering community has known about the risk for 25 years and has widely publicized it. Detailed studies have explained the risk and offered practical retrofit measures. Unless remediated, most of these buildings will be at serious risk when (not if) a big earthquake occurs and potentially causes some of them to collapse.
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