Larger imageThe addition of more confining steel (left) keeps the vertical reinforcing bars from buckling and the concrete from shifting so that the building continues to be fully supported (right) even it if is damaged in an earthquake.
Source: California Seismic Safety Commission
New walls or bracing can be added, and columns can be wrapped with confining material, so that these buildings can survive ground shaking. A qualified engineer or architect can help you decide on the most cost-effective way to strengthen your building.
Photo Example: The walls and columns holding up the Psychiatric Unit of the Olive View Hospital weren't adequately reinforced; they collapsed in the San Fernando Earthquake of 1971. It was a two-story building before the earthquake. Only because the earthquake occurred during an early hour of the morning, the building was fortunately not occupied and a large loss of life was avoided. This type of construction is common in older California commercial and institutional buildings.