Dozens of UCLA, UC Berkeley Buildings Deemed ‘Seismically Deficient’

Sixty-two examined UC Berkeley buildings pose a “serious” risk to life and have a “poor” chance of remaining intact in the event of a large earthquake.

Dozens of UCLA, UC Berkeley Buildings Deemed ‘Seismically Deficient’

Powell Library at UCLA was ranked a level 5, or serious risk to life.

Dozens of buildings on the UCLA and UC Berkeley campuses have been deemed unsafe and pose a serious risk to life if an earthquake were to occur.

According to a series of recent university studies, 68 buildings at UC Berkeley and 18 at UCLA are seismically deficient, reports the LA Times.

Carol Christ, UC Berkeley Chancellor, recently sent out a message regarding the safety hazards on campus. Christ responded to the 2017 directive from the UC Board of Regents which called on every campus to undertake a risk assessment.

“Because nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and guests, UC Berkeley has, over the years, spent more than $1 billion to address our buildings’ seismic deficiencies,” she said. “Remediation of those deficiencies is an ongoing process of continuous improvement driven by constant advancements in seismic understanding.”

Independent engineering firms ranked 62 UC Berkeley buildings “poor,” meaning they have a seismic performance rating of “V.” Six buildings were given a “very poor,” or “VI.” There were no buildings that warranted a “VII” rating, which would deem a building “dangerous” per California code.

Three highly populated UCLA buildings — Kneller House, Clark Library Gate House and UCLA Nimoy Theater — were ranked a level six, meaning “severe risk to life.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, there have been 37 major earthquakes in California since 1975 with magnitudes of at least 5.1 While there have been no injuries on a UC campus, building codes and science has improved since that time.

The next step for officials at UC Berkeley is submitting the findings to the UC Office of the President to support a systemwide effort to address the work that will need to be done on campus. The initial estimate to repair or replace the buildings at UC Berkeley alone is around $1 billion.

In the meantime, the university will limit the usage and occupancy of the deficient buildings and the community will be kept informed on the progress.

Here is the full list of unsafe buildings at UCLA and UC Berkeley:


Level 6 — Severe Risk to Life:

  • Kneller House
  • Clark Library Gate House
  • UCLA Nimoy Theater

Level 5 — Serious Risk to Life:

  • Public Affairs‐W Data
  • Kinnard House
  • Public Affairs‐Arts
  • Public Affairs
  • Young Library
  • Powell Library
  • Powell Library‐East
  • Semel Institute
  • Murphy Hall
  • Murphy Hall West
  • Murphy Hall East
  • Faculty Center
  • Psychology Tower
  • La Kretz Botany
  • Sunset Canyon Recreation SFR

UC Berkeley

Level 6 — Severe Risk to Life

  • Donner Lab Addition
  • Durant Hall
  • Evans Hall
  • Moffitt Undergraduate Library
  • Stephens Hall
  • Wellman Hall

Level 5 — Serious Risk to Life

  • Birge Hall
  • Boalt Hall North Addition
  • Boalt Hall Robbins Hall
  • Botanical Garden 1752 TROP
  • Building 1229
  • California Hall
  • Calvin Laboratory
  • Cesar E. Chavez Student Center
  • Clark Kerr Campus 23 -Archives
  • Cory Hall
  • Doe Memorial Library
  • Donner Laboratory
  • Etcheverry Hall
  • Foothill Housing Building 1-9
  • Genetics & Plant Biology
  • Giauque Laboratory
  • Gilman Hall
  • Haviland Hall
  • Hearst Memorial Gymnasium
  • Hilgard Hall
  • International House
  • Kroeber Hall
  • Kroeber Hall Canopy
  • Lawrence Hall of Science- Base
  • Le Conte Hall Addition
  • McCone Hall
  • Minor Hall Addition
  • Morgan Hall
  • Moses Hall
  • Mulford Hall
  • North Gate Hall
  • North Gate Hall Library
  • Parking NW
  • Recreational Sports Facility
  • Simon Hall
  • Soda Hall
  • South Hall
  • Sproul Hall
  • Stern Hall
  • Tan Hall
  • Upper Hearst Parking Structure(“H”)
  • Valley Life Sciences Building
  • Wheeler Hall
  • Wurster Hall – North
  • Wurster Hall – South
  • Zellerbach Hall

About the Author


Katie Malafronte is Campus Safety's Web Editor. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Writing & Rhetoric. Katie has been CS's Web Editor since 2018.

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