On behalf of Michael Brooks of Law Offices of Michael A. Brooks posted in commercial real estate on Thursday, July 19, 2018.

California is trying to build up rather than out. It makes sense to make use of tall buildings in most California cities. It’s the only way to stop moving the suburbs out farther and making commutes longer.

However, is it a smart idea? Is it even safe, given the fact that future earthquakes are not just a possibility — but a certainty in some areas? If they aren’t already, investors need to be conscious of their risks.

Los Angeles and San Francisco offer some prime real estate investment opportunities. Both are inside Class Four seismic zones, where earthquake preparation is necessary. Historically, the cities have limited the height of their buildings. However, San Francisco recently allowed a building to go about 100 feet taller than is normally allowed due to its exceptional “seismic performance.”

Structural engineers who have studied the way that buildings perform in earthquakes have come up with some amazing innovations. In the case of San Francisco’s tallest skyscraper, computer modeling was used to help design the building and make sure that it met all required codes. It also helped determine the way the building would react to various seismic events in the region.

Engineers also drove the skyscraper’s foundation 200 feet underground, into the bedrock below. Its walls are also made with a type of specially-reinforced concrete and steel frames. The floors are also designed using a unique support system. These are the type of innovations investors should see before they decide to put their money into a California skyscraper.

So, are skyscrapers simply a bad risk in an earthquake zone? The experts say that the technology in use actually makes the newest skyscrapers — which are also the tallest — among the safest buildings in the city during an earthquake. Many older buildings were retrofitted to meet earthquake-readiness guidelines after a major quake hit back in 1994. New buildings are designed with the possibility in mind from the very start.

As always, it’s important to perform due diligence in all commercial real estate purchases before you decide to invest. That means taking into consideration the unique natural characteristics of the region as well.

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