Shaken, Not Stirred: Retrofitting Concrete Buildings

Date: November 8, 2017 5:30pm
Location: SGH Los Angeles

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

5:30 - 6:00PM  Registration & Refreshments
6:00 - 7:00PM  Presentation & Discussion
7:00 - 8:00PM  Cocktail Reception

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
1150 S. Olive Street, Suite 1600 
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Click here for building access instructions.

Parking is available in the Olive Street parking garage ($2 for every 10 min, $20 daily max). Nearby street parking and independent lots may also be convenient.

Participants will earn 1.0 AIA CES Learning Unit (LU/HSW) for their attendance.
Attendance is free and open to all; please invite colleagues. We will serve refreshments and hors d'oeuvres. Space is limited to the first 50 guests to register.


The city of Los Angeles and many surrounding municipalities imposed a large burden on building owners when they passed non-ductile concrete ordinances requiring pre-1978 concrete structures to partially comply with current seismic codes. Numerous existing buildings are constructed of concrete because of its ability to simultaneously serve as the structural, fire resistance, and enclosure system. However, municipalities recognize the seismic vulnerability of older concrete buildings and have mandated their retrofit to ensure community resilience.  Integrating efficient seismic retrofits, facade preservation, and fire life safety systems can ease the ordinance burden on owners by providing long-term protection of their building investment, but requires expertise and collaboration among each of these disciplines. This presentation will explore the importance of developing efficient seismic retrofit schemes that maintain exterior facades’ appearance and water tightness while accommodating life safety systems. We will also discuss common analysis techniques, typical problems, and approaches to detailing with archaic concrete systems.

After attending this seminar, participants will be able to: 

  • Identify structural features that make concrete buildings vulnerable to seismic damage, and how to efficiently mitigate these vulnerabilities while integrating building facade and life safety considerations.
  • Recognize common concrete facade damages and understand possible failure mechanisms and ranges of repair.
  • Understand the advantages and disadvantages of structural exterior retrofits and their effect on the building envelope.
  • Understand typical fire resistive properties and common issues associated with archaic concrete construction.
  • Identify code and analytical resources used to address archaic concrete assemblies.




  James A. McDonald, P.E., S.E., Associate Principal
Jim McDonald is a practicing structural engineer whose practice has included structural design of education, health care, residential, and commercial buildings; seismic evaluation and upgrade; structural investigations; evaluations of bridges; and condition evaluations of maritime structures, and ships.
  Ryan N. Upp, AIA, Senior Project Manager
Ryan Upp is a member of SGH’s Building Technology group in Los Angeles. He has extensive experience consulting with architects, contractors, and developers on a wide range of structures, both historic and contemporary. His expertise includes investigation of existing building envelopes, restoration, and new design encompassing a variety of systems utilizing below-grade waterproofing, plaza deck waterproofing, exterior wall assemblies, balcony waterproofing, curtain wall and window assemblies, and roofing technologies.
  Nathan B. Wittasek, P.E., CFEI, LEED AP, CASp, Principal
Nate Wittasek has twenty years of experience working in the fire protection and regulatory arenas. He brings a practical approach to the fire protection engineering field that reflects his diverse training and experiences in academia, codes consulting for both new and existing facilities, performance-based fire protection engineering, accessibility, and the fire service. His experience includes failure analysis, fire engineering, systems design, and building codes consulting for commercial and infrastructure projects in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Nate is a registered fire protection engineer in California and Nevada.


  • Owners
  • Facilities Managers
  • Property Managers
  • Contractors
  • Architects
  • Attorneys