No water heater straps in

LM> This 200-square feet outbuilding has a toilet, bathroom, kitchen, LM> fireplace, a large dining table and a water heater. This room isn't for LM> sleeping. We're located 80 miles from the largest quake epicenter in LM> California. The largest one I felt is no different than trying to walk LM> about inside a moving bus. A San Mateo building code (40 miles from LM> where we are) appears to want two earthquake straps and two 15" of LM> inlet/outlet pipe insulation which I don't have. They also require a LM> permit and inspection which I don't have. We're only 80-percent up to LM> code. Can we live without this?
So far you have. :) The "earthquake straps" are probably to hold the water heater tank from rolling around causing additional injury when the thing breaks its connections during an earthquake. Why two straps? I'm presuming one is around the top third level and the other at the bottom third level; to hold the tank more securely than one in the center (could pivot, break loose). They may have tested with additional straps but didn't find any significant additional security.
If the water heater is located "out in the open" I would probably strongly consider adding the straps to hold the tank in place, just in case. OTOH if the tank is in an equipment closet I might consider those walls as securing the tank.
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