Is My Building Earthquake-Safe San Francisco?

Before you buy a building in San Francisco you should first check to ensure the building is part of the Seismic Retrofit Program, as older buildings may not be yet be compliant with the program. The Seismic Retrofit Program was made to bring owners of older buildings up to the proper building codes; codes that will keep them safe during an earthquake. We get a lot of earthquakes here in California, big and small, and those are hard on older buildings that were not built using the modern standards we have come to expect in this great nation.

Situations that make the building a candidate for retrofitting is:

  • If the original permit for building was before Jan. 1, 1978
  • If there are five or more residential units housed within the building.
  • Wood frame type V construction typically needs to be looked at.
  • When a building is multi-storied.
  • A soft-story building, which is a building where the bottom floor lacks the support structure for the floors above it.  We see this with commercial buildings that have large open areas or parking lots that are under the structure.

If your building falls under one of those instances then you should take the time to give a retrofitting expert a call.  Don’t take a chance with your building in San Francisco, call someone that can take a look for you and give you a professional opinion.

Retrofitting Your Home Or Commercial Building

When you get your home retrofitted to prevent damage from earthquakes you are giving yourself peace of mind.  You know that you have done everything possible to not only ensure that your building is safe but that those inside are safe too.  This might not be necessarily your home, you could own commercial buildings that need taken care of as well. We work with both commercial and residential buildings to bring them under the current code as affordably as possible.

Additionally you might not need to pay much or anything out of pocket.  If you qualify you become eligible for up to $3000 in financial assistance. These funds are tare allocated to peoples whom need retrofitting in order to protect their homes and prevent them from collapsing. It isn’t just a building, it is also homes and businesses that deserve to be protected. With this program you are able to choose the contractor, however, they must possess type A or B licenses and have extensive experience in retrofitting. We have a partner that has over 20 years of experience in retrofitting, let’s put that experience to work for you.

Call On The Professional Building Retrofitters.

To see if you and your building qualify for the program, you simply need to contact a reliable contractor that qualifies or go to the website for Earthquake Brace and Bolt information.  There they will determine if you qualify, most Standard Plan A retrofits are almost always qualified.  This will pay for about half of the retrofitting costs.  Contractors that do this line of work are used to filling out these forms and can certainly help you as well.  

To know for certain that your building is prepared for an Earthquake you will need to call out the professionals so that they can take a look.  Rigid and yet sturdy buildings might seem like they are earthquake proof to most owners, however, the rigidity of the building can cause it to collapse during the sideways motion that occurs during even minor tremors.  Unfortunately most buildings are not constructed to move from side to side and as such they will break up during a large earthquake.  Even smaller earthquakes can take a toll over time.  

Think of a cement building for example.  Cement is a very good material used regularly in building.  It is strong and durable. However, those same properties are what take it down when the earthquake comes.  The material doesn’t have any give to it.  While we cannot fully prepare for a large earthquake, retrofitting a building or home protects both people and property..

Prepare your buildings for earthquakes

There hasn’t been a large earthquake in San Francisco in 30 years. However, the area does have a history of them.  There are reasons and evidence that make it easy to believe that another large earthquake is coming sooner rather than later.  That’s why it is important that you look into this and find out if your building is prepared for the next big shakeup.  Combine this with the Earthquake Brace and Bolt program and there has never been a better time to do this.  

There are a few ways in which a building will fail during an Earthquake. Earthquake motion is generally from side to side. Buildings are not meant to move side to side.  In fact, they are not built to move at all, especially those built decades ago.  Where we find the buildings failing are all typically between the foundation and the first floor.  This is why the majority of our work deals with the two aforementioned areas.
When we retrofit a home or building we will focus on trouble areas and work within the standards that were developed during the Seattle Project Impact in 1999 as well as other building requirements.  These codes were set in place by structural engineers that have worked in areas that earthquakes have struck.  

Get your San Francisco building inspected today.

San Francisco is a beautiful city. It is rich with history and full of artisan flair.  It is a city that many dream to visit and only a few of us are privileged to live in.  San Francisco is home to Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Fisherman’s Wharf to name a few.  It is a wonderful place to visit but also to be a part of.  The San Francisco skyline is unique to its own and recognizable around the world.  If you own buildings in San Francisco and want to ensure they are safe for their inhabitants give us a call. We work with home and business owners to bring their buildings up to current code.  Currently, the city is paying you to do this through its Earthquake Brace and Bolt Division.  Which makes this the perfect time to get started.

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