Structrual Connectors Help Prevent Damage in Earthquake Country
April is Earthquake Preparedness Month. It brings a simple question to the business community's attention: Are you prepared if an earthquake were to occur?
At Simpson Strong-Tie, it's a question that is considered with the design of many of their products. Headquartered in Hacienda, the Simpson Manufacturing Co. division manufactures over 4,000 different products used to strengthen, support, and connect joints in building construction and do-it-yourself projects. Among their products are a number of seismic reinforcements and components designed to secure residential and commercial buildings to their foundations.
Simpson Strong-Tie's seismic reinforcement connectors offer options for both new construction and retrofitting projects. With wood-to-wood, wood-to-concrete, and wood-to-masonry connectors, a full complement of building materials is supported.
Simpson Manufacturing has seen steady growth in the 1990s. Net sales have risen steadily from $80.9 million in 1991 to last year's $202.4 million, with net income rising from $2.2 million to $19.7 million, an 895 percent increase, in that time.
The company has been expanding into international markets as well. Last month, Simpson Strong-Tie acquired the Isometric Group, three Canadian companies and a related U.S. company which manufacture and distribute a line of mechanical anchors and related products. The past two years has seen the acquisition of companies in the U.S., England, and France.
The company has also recently formed an alliance with the Tatsumi Group, a Tokyo-based company which helped Simpson become the first foreign manufacturer to earn the "C-Mark" designation, a Japanese government product certification.
Even the best construction techniques are no guarantee that a building will survive an earthquake. This means that preparation can be key.
The Governor's Office of Emergency Services offers information for businesses and individuals detailing how to prepare for and mitigate damage from an earthquake.
Information available for businesses includes a comprehensive checklist with questions about structural issues as well as business planning and recovery issues. For example, the OES recommends preparing employee awareness programs so that, should an earthquake occur, business operations can continue with as little delay as possible. For companies without plans, the OES offers publications designed to aid in their creation.
A free packet for businesses is available simply by calling the OES at (510) 286-0873. The OES also offers a variety of publications and videotapes including:
The Hacienda Owners Association also serves as a clearinghouse for earthquake preparedness information. Call them at (925) 734-6500 for more information.
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