Here’s how it works . . .

Step 1: Hire a licensed design professional (architect or engineer) to complete and submit a screening form by 9/15/2014. Please call us at 925-817-1120 to set up an appointment with an engineer. Be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • Was your building built before 1978?
  • Is your building two stories with a basement or greater?
  • Does your building contain 5 or more dwelling units?
  • Is your building wood-frame (Type V) construction?

If you answer ‘no’ to any of the above questions, you are exempt from the program. Have your engineer submit the screening form (requires engineer’s seal) and you are done.

If you answer ‘yes’ to all of the above questions, please continue reading – you will be required to complete Steps 2 – 3:

Step 2: Retain your design professional’s services to analyze the building and prepare construction drawings.
Step 3: Hire a licensed building contractor to submit your plans. Plans must be submitted for building permit according to the following schedule:

  • School, assembly or care facility  (Tier I), 9/15/15
  • 15 or more dwelling units (Tier II), 9/15/16
  • Commercial building (Tier IV), 9/15/18
  • All other buildings (Tier III), 9/15/17

You will have two years to complete the work from this deadline.

When all is said and done, the City of San Francisco estimates each soft-story retrofit to cost from $60,000 to $130,000. Please note, however, that every project is different. Design fees are a percentage of this total cost and we take great care to provide not only structurally appropriate solutions, but cost-effective ones as well. Our goal is to make your building and the City of San Francisco a safer place to be.

And that’s it. At the very least, this is what you need to know. For the inquisitive, here is a list of some good background and supplemental information:

Briefting/Workshop: Mandatory Soft Story Retrofit Program – October 28, 2013

Brown Bag Lunch Talk: Mandatory Soft Story Retrofit Program – October 3, 2013

Seismically Sound by Tom Hui, San Francisco Apartment Association Magazine July 2013
U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 151-99, Understanding Earthquake Hazards In the San Francisco Bay Region – Progress Toward a Safer Future Since the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.

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