A Chicago developer has signed an agreement for Israel's largest-ever seismic retrofit and upgrade project to bring 24 apartment buildings in a Tel Aviv suburb in compliance with stricter earthquake building standards. The $78-million project in Bat Yam also involves adding 2.5 floors to each building.
Israel lies along the Syrian-African Rift, an active earthquake zone. Two major earthquakes have been reported in the area in the past 200 years. In recent years the government has been looking for ways to make buildings constructed prior to 1980 safer in order to comply with new building codes that went into effect that year. "Israel has hundreds of thousands of buildings that fall into this category and that would not withstand the horizontal force of an earthquake," says Zvi Abramovici, head of Tel Aviv-based Zvi Abramovici Civil Engineering, which specializes in retrofit and upgrade projects.