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Second Appeal Summary
PA ID# 037-91036; Los Angeles County Municipal Services Dept.
DSR ID# 33007; Belvedere Park Gymnasium
Citation: FEMA-1008-DR, PA 037-91036DSR # 33007. Second Appeal by Los Angeles County Municipal Services Department for seismic upgrading of the Belvedere Park Gymnasium as justified by provisions of the California Building Code.
Cross-Reference: Subject: Stafford Act Section 406(e)(1): Codes and Standards; Northridge Earthquake FEMA/OES Memorandum of Understanding (MOU); local building official.
Summary:The County claims that section 3403 of the LA County Building Code (UBC with Amendments) (LACBC) requires that damaged elements must be upgraded to the current code requirements for new construction, including current force levels. The County also claims that, because of this requirement, the LACBC includes a "trigger" and thus the MOU does not apply, and that the MOU is invalid because it was not adopted following the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). The County also raised other technical issues, and included in defense of their case, statements that certain of the buildings had lost a substantial amount of their lateral capacity.
- Does the language of the UBC and LACBC mandate that repaired elements be upgraded when repaired?
- If so, is this a "trigger" as defined by the MOU,
- Is the MOU's adoption valid under the APA? and (4) is the use of epoxy grout an appropriate code-conforming repair to predisaster condition?
- The UBC and LACBC language provides that the repair must be done according to the Code. It does not require that the repaired element be redesigned and reconstructed to meet the requirements for new buildings under the building code. Thus, there is no upgrade "trigger."
- Because there is no "trigger," the MOU will be used for FEMA grant determination.
- The MOU is valid under the APA for several reasons including that because it does not apply Agency-wide, but rather to Public Assistance projects in only one disaster.
- The use of epoxy grouting for the repair of reinforced concrete shear walls is a widely accepted code-conforming method for restoring the strength of those walls to pre-disaster levels.
Rationale: The Stafford Act Sec. 406(e) provides that the net eligible cost includes only the cost of repairing.a public facility.in conformity with current applicable codes. This section does not provide that the repaired facility itself, or even that the element being repaired must be in conformity with the codes, only that the repairs must be done in conformity with the codes. In addition, FEMA has determined that the opinions and actions of the local building official may not be used by the Agency as a basis for eligibility determinations because the Agency has sole responsibility for the awarding of grants.