Following Quake, Seismic Experts Confirm CLA Building's Safety

Following Quake, Seismic Experts Confirm CLA Building's Safety
Seismic expert Gregg Brandow reviews the Chino Hills earthquake's impact on the CLA Building.

The CLA building performed very well in last month's 5.4-magnitude earthquake, despite some broken pieces of plaster, popped expansion joints and cracks in the paint, according to seismic experts. At an earthquake update meeting in the Heritage Room of the CLA Building on Aug. 12, seismic expert Gregg E. Brandow and Professor Donald P. Coduto, a geotechnical engineer, discussed the building's ability to withstand future earthquakes and answered employees' questions.

Brandow, president of a structural and civil engineering firm and a member of the CSU Seismic Review Board, said the CLA Building, both the tower and classroom sides, does not pose a major risk to its occupants and that it should hold up well in a moderate to large earthquake. Because of the building's flexible design, it is supposed to sway back and forth, especially on the upper floors. None of the damage sustained on the July 29 quake was unexpected or disproportionate for the size and type of earthquake, according to Brandow, who inspected the building immediately following the event.

“The performance of this building was actually pretty good,” he said. “Movement is not bad. It's the rigid buildings that are the most challenging in an earthquake.”

Coduto, chair of the Civil Engineering Department at Cal Poly Pomona, addressed the faults and groundshaking issues that affect the area. Although the campus lies on the San Jose fault line, it is so small that it is not recorded on the state's map of fault hazards and unlikely to generate a strong temblor. In fact, Brandow added, Cal Poly Pomona is not considered a high-risk campus in the CSU system.

The university has begun making cosmetic repairs to the CLA Building, re-plastering walls and ceilings and replacing the popped expansion joints that connect the different sections of the building. In the coming months, the university will conduct an earthquake drill to familiarize the campus community with emergency procedures.

For more information about emergency procedures, contact Emergency Services Coordinator Debbi McFall at or (909) 869-6981. For more information about the building's seismic safety, contact Michael Sylvester, associate vice president of Facilities, Planning & Management at

Additional information about emergency preparedness and procedures is available at