Chapter 18.40


18.40.010    Purpose.

18.40.020    Definitions.

18.40.030    Scope of program.

18.40.040    Building categories and implementation schedule.

18.40.050    Engineering reports.

18.40.060    Review of reports.

18.40.070    Responsibilities of the building owners.

18.40.080    Program status reports to the city council.

18.40.090    Remedies.

18.40.010 Purpose.

It is found and declared that in the event of a strong or moderate local earthquake, loss of life or serious injury may result from damage to or collapse of buildings in Pacific Grove. It is generally acknowledged that Pacific Grove will experience earthquakes in the future due to its proximity to the San Andreas and other faults. The purpose of this chapter is to promote public safety by identifying those buildings in Pacific Grove which exhibit structural deficiencies and by accurately determining the severity and extent of those deficiencies in relation to their potential for causing loss of life or injury. The city council finds it desirable to identify the hazards that these deficiencies may pose to occupants of buildings and pedestrians in the event of an earthquake. Such a seismic hazards identification program is consistent with Government Code Section 8875 et seq. and is necessary to implement the state unreinforced masonry law. [Ord. 1747 N.S. § 1, 1990].

18.40.020 Definitions.

“Bearing wall” means any wall supporting a floor or roof where the total superimposed load exceeds 100 pounds per linear foot, or any unreinforced masonry wall supporting its own weight when over six feet in height.

“Building,” for the purpose of determining occupant load, means any contiguous or interconnected structure; for purposes of engineering evaluation, means the entire structure or a portion thereof which will respond to seismic forces as a unit.

“Capacity for transfer” means the maximum allowable capacity of a structural system or connection to resist in a ductile manner the lateral forces it would encounter due to earthquake forces.

“Civil engineer or structural engineer” means a licensed civil or structural engineer registered by the state of California pursuant to the rules and regulations of Title 16, Chapter 5 of the California Administrative Code.

“External hazard” means an object attached to or forming the exterior facade of a building which may fall onto pedestrians or occupants of adjacent buildings. Examples of this type of hazard include, but are not limited to, the following:

(a) Nonstructural exterior wall panels, such as masonry infill or decorative precast concrete;

(b) Parapets;

(c) Marquees, awnings or other roof-like projections from a building;

(d) Masonry or stone wall veneer and wall ornamentation, including cornices or other decorative appendages;

(e) Masonry chimneys;

(f) Tile roofing;

(g) Wall signs and exterior lighting fixtures hung from a building exterior;

(h) Fire escapes or balconies.

“Geometry” means a building’s shape or configuration, including setbacks of wall/column lines, re-entrant corners, discontinuities in vertical and horizontal lateral force diaphragms, open storefront and building stiffness variations due to the distribution of resisting elements or the use of materials of differing properties within the same structural element, or other irregularities in plan or elevation.

“Occupants” means the total occupant load of a building determined by Table 33-A of the 1973 Uniform Building Code or the actual maximum number of occupants in that building if that number is less than 75 percent of the number determined by using Table 33-A. The number of actual occupants may be documented by counting actual seating capacity if permanent seating is provided in the occupancy, or by employee and client counts which can be substantiated as a practical maximum use of the space in the building. The building official will establish the procedure for documenting occupant loads.

“Solution” means any justifiable method that will provide for the transfer of lateral forces through a system or connection to a degree which will substantially eliminate a potential collapse failure. A general description of the methods and materials to be used shall be included in sufficient detail to allow for a cost estimate of the solution to be made (i.e., adding shear walls, overlaying horizontal diaphragms, strengthening critical connections, etc.).

“Unreinforced masonry (URM)” building means a building containing walls constructed wholly or partially with any of the following materials:

(a) Unreinforced brick masonry;

(b) Unreinforced concrete masonry;

(c) Hollow clay tile;

(d) Adobe or unburned clay masonry. [Ord. 98-34 § 14, 1998; Ord. 1747 N.S. § 1, 1990].

18.40.030 Scope of program.

(a) Applicability. The following buildings in Pacific Grove shall be required to have an engineering report submitted to the city’s community development department, pursuant to PGMC 18.40.050, to determine: (1) the existence, nature and extent of structural deficiencies which could result in collapse or partial collapse of the building; and (2) the existence, nature and extent of deficiencies in the anchoring of external hazards:

(1) Buildings constructed of unreinforced masonry (URM), except those of less than 1,900 square feet containing six or fewer occupants.

(2) Buildings constructed prior to January 1, 1935 containing 100 or more occupants.

(3) Buildings constructed prior to August 1, 1976, containing 300 or more occupants.

(b) Exemptions. The following buildings need not comply with this chapter: (1) Buildings which have been structurally upgraded in accordance with either the Los Angeles Division 88 Standard for URM buildings or the 1973, or later, edition of the Uniform Building Code; (2) Buildings exempted by Section 8875(a) of the California Government Code. [Ord. 09-005 § 27, 2009; Ord. 1747 N.S. § 1, 1990].

18.40.040 Building categories and implementation schedule.

(a) Building Categories. The categories of buildings within the scope of this chapter are set forth in Table 18.40.040.

(b) Owner Notification. The owners of buildings in Categories I through III, except those designated as historic buildings, shall be notified within six months of enactment of this chapter by the city’s chief building inspector that their buildings are required to have an engineering report submitted to the city.

(c) Implementation Schedule. The owners of buildings in Categories I through IV shall submit seismic engineering reports (based on Uniform Building Code requirements) within the time frame set out in Table 18.40.040.

Table 18.40.040



Engineering Report Submitted When


All unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings

At the time of change of ownership or at the time any work on the building exceeds $5,000 and such work requires a building permit. Any accumulation of work valued at $5,000 in any 12-month period.


All pre-1935 buildings other than URM with 100 occupants or more.

At the time of change of ownership or at the time any work on the building exceeds $5,000 and such work requires a building permit. Any accumulation of work valued at $5,000 in any 12-month period.


All buildings with an occupant load of 300 or more constructed between January 1, 1935, and August 1, 1976.*

At the time of change of ownership or at the time any work on the building exceeds $5,000 and such work requires a building permit. Any accumulation of work valued at $5,000 in any 12-month period.


All buildings having external hazards in C-1, C-D, C-FH, C-2, V-C and I

Within one year of receipt of written notice from the city.

*    Except buildings built after or under construction prior to April 20, 1949, and designed by a California licensed structural or civil engineer.

[Ord. 13-003 § 13, 2013; Ord. 98-34 § 7, 1998; Ord. 1747 N.S. § 1, 1990].

18.40.050 Engineering reports.

(a) Preparation of Reports. Building owners shall employ a civil or structural engineer to prepare the investigation and engineering report outlined below.

(b) Purpose. To investigate, in a thorough and unambiguous fashion, a building’s structural systems that resist the forces imposed by earthquakes and to determine if any individual portion or combination of these systems is inadequate to prevent a structural failure (collapse or partial collapse).

(c) General. Each building shall be treated as an individual case without prejudice or comparison to similar type or age buildings which may have greater or lesser earthquake resistance. Generalities or stereotypes are to be avoided in the evaluation process by focusing on the specifics of the structural system of the building in question and the local geology of the land on which the building is constructed.

(d) Level of Investigation. Some buildings will require extensive testing and field investigation to uncover potential structural deficiencies, while others will allow the same level of overall evaluation by a less complicated process due to simplicity of design or the availability of original or subsequent alteration design and construction documents.

It is the responsibility of the engineer performing the evaluation to choose the appropriate level of investigation which will produce a report that is complete and can serve as a sound basis for a conclusion on the collapse hazard the building may present.

(e) Format for the Report. The following is a basic outline of the format each engineering report should follow. This outline is not to be construed to be a constraint on the professional preparing the report, but rather to provide a skeleton framework within which individual approaches to assembling the information required by this chapter may be accomplished. It also will serve as a means for the city to evaluate the completeness of each report.

(1) General Information. A description of the buildings including:

(A) The street address;

(B) The type of occupancy use within the building with separate uses that generate different occupant loads indicated on a plan showing the square footage of each different use;

(C) Plans and elevation showing the location, type and extent of lateral force resisting elements in the building (both horizontal and vertical elements);

(D) A description of the construction materials used in the structural elements and information regarding their present condition;

(E) The date of original construction, if known, and the date, if known, of any subsequent additions or substantial structural alterations of the building; and

(F) The name and address of the original designer and contractor, if known, and the name and address of the designer and contractor, if known, for any subsequent additions or substantial structural alterations.

(2) Investigation and Evaluation of Structural Systems. All items to be investigated and the methods of investigation for each type of building under consideration are contained in the two sets of procedures, adopted by resolution of the council, available from the city’s community development department.

(3) Test Reports. All field and laboratory test results shall be included in the report. Evaluation of the significance of these test results shall be made with regard to each structural system or typical connection being evaluated. This evaluation may be limited to a statement of the adequacy or inadequacy of the system or connection based on the lateral load demand it would be required to resist by calculation. If tests reveal inadequacy, a conceptual solution must be included in the report.

(4) Conclusions. Based on the demand/capacity ratio and the specific evaluation items contained in the two sets of procedures adopted by resolution of the council, a statement shall be provided explaining the overall significance of the deficiencies found to exist in the building’s lateral force resisting system regarding potential collapse or partial collapse failure.

(5) Recommendations. An appropriate solution, which could be used to strengthen the structure to alleviate any collapse or partial collapse threat, shall be specified.

(6) Exceptions and Alternatives. Exceptions to the specific items required to be included in an engineering report may be granted by the chief building official upon review of a written request from the engineer preparing the report. Such a request shall provide evidence that adequate information concerning the required item(s) can be determined by alternate means or that a conclusion can be made about the item without following the solution called for in the appropriate procedure. The purpose of granting such exceptions shall be to reduce the costs or disruption that would result from taking required actions, when it can be shown that they are unnecessary to provide information available by other equivalent means. In no case will an exception be granted which would result in an item not being completely evaluated. The decision of the building official in granting exceptions is final. [Ord. 98-34 § 15, 1998; Ord. 1747 N.S. § 1, 1990].

18.40.060 Review of reports.

(a) The city shall utilize the services of civil or structural engineers to assist the community development department in determining if the submitted engineering reports conform to the requirements of this chapter.

(b) The cost of this review shall be recovered by a fee assessed from the building’s owner based on the time required for the review. This fee amount shall be deducted from the plan checking fee collected for any future construction work that deals directly with correcting any of the structural inadequacies specified in the engineering report.

(c) Copies of the engineering reports shall be available to interested individuals for a standard copying fee or may be reviewed at the community development department. [Ord. 1747 N.S. § 1, 1990].

18.40.070 Responsibilities of the building owners.

(a) Notification of Building Tenants. A building owner shall notify all tenants, in writing, that a structural investigation has been performed and that the report is available at the community development department. This notice must be sent within 30 days of the date the report is submitted to the city.

(b) Letter of Intent. A building owner shall submit a letter to the community development department within one year of the date the engineering report was submitted, indicating the owner’s intentions for dealing with the potential collapse hazards found to exist in the building. [Ord. 1747 N.S. § 1, 1990].

18.40.080 Program status reports to the city council.

The city’s chief building inspector shall submit an annual report to the city council on the status of the seismic hazards identification program. The reports shall include information regarding the number of buildings analyzed, the severity of the structural inadequacies discovered and any actions taken by individual building owners to correct these inadequacies. [Ord. 98-34 § 8, 1998; Ord. 1747 N.S. § 1, 1990].

18.40.090 Remedies.

It shall be unlawful for the owner of a building identified as being included in the scope of this chapter to fail to submit a report on either building collapse hazards or external hazards within the time period specified in PGMC 18.40.040(c), Table 18.40.040, or to fail to submit a letter of intent within the time period specified in PGMC 18.40.070(b). The following remedies are available to the city:

(a) The city may seek injunctive relief on behalf of the public to enjoin a building owner’s violation of this chapter.

(b) A building owner violating this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and may be prosecuted pursuant to Chapter 1.16 PGMC. Such building owner is guilty of a separate offense for each and every day during any portion of which such violation of this chapter is committed, continued or permitted by such building owner.

(c) These remedies are not exclusive. [Ord. 09-005 § 28, 2009; Ord. 08-006 § 75, 2008; Ord. 1747 N.S. § 1, 1990].