19.38.060 Risk classification and compliance schedule.

(a) All potentially hazardous URM buildings are hereby classified, on the basis of risk to life safety, into the following categories:

1. Risk category I (highest risk):

Hospitals, fire and police offices/stations, emergency operation centers, buildings housing medical supplies, government administration offices, or any building with an occupancy load of one thousand (1,000) or more.

2. Risk category II:

Commercial buildings-Businesses, assembly buildings, educational and institutional occupancies with an occupancy load of three hundred (300) or more.

Residential buildings-Hotels, motels, apartments or condominiums containing more than one hundred (100) living units/bedrooms.

Mixed use occupancies-Any building with a combined occupancy load greater than three hundred (300).

3. Risk category III:

Commercial buildings-Businesses, assembly buildings, educational and institutional occupancies with an occupancy load of one hundred (100) or more.

Residential buildings-Hotels, motels, apartments or condominiums containing fifty (50) or more living units/bedrooms.

Mixed use occupancies-Any building with a combined occupancy load greater than one hundred (100).

4. Risk category IV:

Commercial buildings-Businesses, assembly buildings, educational and institutional occupancies with an occupancy load of fifty (50) or more.

Residential buildings-Hotels, motels, apartments or condominiums containing fewer than fifty (50) living units/bedrooms.

Mixed use occupancies-Any building with a combined occupancy load greater than fifty (50).

5. Risk category V:

Commercial buildings-Businesses, assembly buildings, educational and institutional occupancies with an occupancy load of fifty (50) or less.

Residential buildings-Hotels, motels, apartments or condominiums containing twenty (20) or fewer living units/bedrooms.

Mixed use occupancies-Any building with a combined occupancy load of fifty (50) or less.

6. Risk category VI (lowest risk):

Any nonresidential building that is used less than twenty (20) hours per week, or any building with a masonry veneer of at least ten (10) feet in height or with a masonry parapet exceeding a one and one-half (1-1/2) ratio or masonry in-fill that is located in a high pedestrian traffic corridor.

NOTE: Risk categories II through V apply to buildings with masonry bearing walls that contain seismic reinforcement less than the minimum prescribed in the City of Berkeley "Standards for the Seismic Analysis of Unreinforced Masonry Buildings."

(b)    Compliance Schedule.

All owners of potentially hazardous URM buildings shall complete required retrofit work in accordance with this Section by the dates specified below:

1.    Risk category I buildings - by March 1, 1997.

2.    Risk category II buildings - by March 1, 1997.

3.    Risk category III buildings - by June 30, 1997.

4.    Risk category IV buildings - by December 31, 1997.

5.    Risk category V buildings - by December 31, 1998.

6.    Risk category VI buildings - by December 31, 2001.

(c)    Acceleration of Compliance Schedule. The building official of the City of Berkeley shall require the immediate seismic retrofit of a potentially hazardous URM building if any one or more of the following conditions exist:

1.    The building official determines that the building or any major portion thereof will be reoccupied after being vacant for six (6) months or longer.

2.    The building will undergo a remodel, alteration, addition or structural repairs, except for repairs found by the building official to be required for routine maintenance or emergency purposes.

3.    Title to the building is transferred in whole or part or the building is sold to a new owner or owners, except that changes in title due to inheritances shall not require compliance with this part. Owners shall be required to obtain required permits and complete all required seismic retrofit work six months after transfer of title.

4.    Additional financing is obtained which is secured by a deed of trust or mortgage recorded on the title to the building. Finncing secured solely to refinance existing debt against the property shall not be considered as additional financing for the purposes of this section. Owners shall be required to obtain required permits and complete all required seismic retrofit work six (6) months after obtaining additional financing.

5.    The use of the building changes such that Section 502 of the Berkeley Building Code (BMC Chapter 19.28) applies.

6.    The building is identified by the building official as an Unsafe Building as defined in Section 203 of the Berkeley Building Code (BMC Chapter 19.28).

(d) Hardship Exceptions. The City Manager or the designee thereof may grant an exception to the requirements of this section to extend the deadline for completing all or a part of required seismic retrofit work. An exception may initially extend the deadline for performance of some or all of required retrofit work by up to six (6) months. The City Manager may grant up to two additional extensions of up to six (6) months each if a continued exception is justified in accordance with the requirements of this section.

Hardship exceptions shall be granted only where the owner submits a written plan to the City for proceeding with the retrofit work, with any exceptions granted, and agrees to fully cooperate with the City in seeking all available financing for the seismic retrofit work and any related relocation. Exceptions granted under this part shall not extend deadlines for correction of any other violations of any other ordinances.

An exception shall be granted only upon submission to the City Manager of a detailed written statement from the building owner requesting the exception, explaining why an exception should be granted and clearly documenting the reasons for the exception in accordance with the requirements of this part.

In order to grant an exception, the City Manager must find that:

1.    The building does not present an imminent threat to life safety of occupants or the public, based on a report from a California licensed structural or civil engineer. The City Manager may require partial or interim seismic retrofit work in order to grant an exception;

2.    The building owner has complied with all other applicable requirements of this section, including the requirements of Section 19.38.020 (a) and (c) and Section 19.38.050; and

3.    The owner demonstrates one or more of the following conditions:

a.    Financing is unavailable to pay for the required seismic retrofit work. The owner shall provide the following information as required to determine financial hardship:

1.    Contractors’ bids or a professional cost estimate of the seismic retrofit;

2.    The owner’s financial statement and credit report;

3.    Specific information on rents, operating expenses, existing debt against the building, projected rents on the retrofitted building and any other information needed to analyze the ability of the building to support additional debt; and

4.    Statements from lenders that they are unable to provide the needed financing. In determining financial hardship, owners shall be required to apply for any financing the City determines may be available for the retrofit work.

b.    Low income residential tenants and/or businesses targeted for retention will be displaced by the required seismic retrofit work and such displacement cannot be mitigated by temporary or permanent relocation and paid as a part of the seismic retrofit financing. For purposes of this part, low income residential tenants are tenants with incomes below 80 percent (80%) of area median income. For purposes of this part, a business is targeted for retention if the business provides needed goods or services which are scarce or unique in a neighborhood or the City at large, or if its displacement would involve a significant loss of jobs, revenues or environmental business. The Economic Development Director shall recommend retention guidelines to the City Manager for purposes of administering the chapter. An exception shall not be granted unless the City Manager determines that the exception will result in retention of the business.

c. There are unique and exceptional circumstances that have prevented or hindered retrofit. An example of such a circumstance may be a new owner who did not receive prior notice and could not have reasonably been aware of the requirements of this chapter. (Ord. 6604-NS § 2, 2000)