Facilities Services Division


  • Seismic Safety of School Buildings



    The Facilities Services Division continues to assess and evaluate the structural integrity of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) buildings to ensure that they meet or exceed all State requirements related to structural safety, and that all school buildings are safe to use. Providing our students, faculty, and staff with a safe learning environment is our highest priority.

    Field Act

    The Field Act, enacted in 1933, holds public schools to higher building code requirements. The design and construction of all new school buildings and modernization of existing school buildings must comply with all requirements of the Field Act. In the event of a seismic occurrence, staff conducts further investigative studies as appropriate, to assess the structural integrity of school buildings and ensure all occupied buildings continue to be structurally sound. If it is determined that a school building may pose a safety risk, the necessary actions will be taken to ensure student safety, including closing the building, and as appropriate, developing a project to either retrofit, replace or demolish the building.

    According to the  Seismic Safety Inventory of California Public Schools Report released by the Department of General Services on November 15, 2002, "Public school buildings in California are the safest in the nation. They exceed the seismic standards required for most other buildings and have proven to provide a level of protection that assures the safety of California's public school children. Since the passage of the Field Act in 1933, no school has collapsed due to a seismic event, and there has been no loss of life. Nonetheless, the need to constantly examine conditions, in light of a better understanding of building performance, is necessary to maintain the high standard that is historic in California."

    Assembly Bill 300

    Assembly Bill (AB) 300, enacted in 1999, required the Department of General Services to survey the State's public school buildings (Kindergarten through grade 12) for earthquake safety, and to submit a report of its findings to the Legislature. AB 300 identified 269 of the LAUSD's nearly 13,000 buildings for seismic evaluation. In 2006, upon further analysis by LAUSD staff, including site visits and field investigations, a total of 667 buildings were identified for seismic evaluation based upon AB 300 criteria and LAUSD's higher standards. Since that time, seismic evaluations have been performed on school buildings identified to be the most seismically vulnerable, and projects have been developed to address the buildings determined to be in the greatest need of structural upgrades.