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  • Featured PBS Contractor

    • The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
    • The New York Times
    • KQED This Week - The Hayward Fault, Predictable Peril
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  • Over 4,000 House, Apartment and Soft Story Seismic Retrofits Completed

    • 19 years experience
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    • Serving entire Bay Area
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  • Our Soft Story Retrofits for Apartment Buildings Meet San Francisco's Soft Story Mandate.

  • Typical Soft Story Collapse in the 1994 Los Angeles Earthquake

  • Moment Frames are used in Soft Story Retrofits when a Moment Column is not Strong enough.

  • Moment Columns Preserve Parking and Head Room.

  • According to SFGate, scientists say 80% of S.F. Soft Story Buildings will "Collapse or be Damaged beyond Repair"

Who is Bay Area Retrofit?

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Bay Area Retrofit was founded by Howard Cook 19 years ago after the 1994 Northridge. He had worked for FEMA as a Residential Earthquake Damage Inspector for homes and soft story buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area. He saw a lot of damage first hand , some of it very serious such as that caused to soft story buildings in San Francisco, which he discovered could have been prevented. Using his research abilities developed while earning his M.A. in English, he was able to become a nationally recognized expert in seismic retrofitting.Read more

What is a Seismic Retrofit?

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Most San Francisco Bay Area homes and soft story buildings were built before codes were in place to prevent their sliding off their foundation. In the case of soft story buildings such as those found in San Francisco, codes now prevent collapse of the soft story. Here you will learn about the 3 structural weaknesses that must be addressed in every retrofit. In this way you can determine if your already retrofitted house or soft story building has been properly retrofitted.Read more

Why you need a Seismic Retrofit

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Most homes and soft story buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area have un-retrofitted cripple walls that readily collapse during earthquakes, causing the house or soft story building to topple from their foundations. Seismic retrofits prevent this by converting the cripple walls into earthquake resisting shear walls. This video explains and illustrates with photographs what can and does happen to homes if the cripple walls are not converted into shear walls. For soft story buildings, everything here applies except San Francisco soft story buildings have much taller cripple walls. Read more

Soft Story Retrofits

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Your building may have a “soft story.” A soft-story is a weakness caused when a lower story is substantially weaker, more flexible, and more subject to collapse than the stories above. This soft story condition is often found in San Francisco and is caused by large openings, such as the one created by a garage door opening. If the soft story collapses...Read more

Hillside Home Seismic Retrofits

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The structural deficiencies inherent in hillside homes have caused the deaths of many people in addition to catastrophic losses of property. The City of Los Angeles has a special retrofit building code for hillside homes which is the basis of the methods we use. Read more

Bay Area Retrofit Blog

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Keep up with all the latest news and developments in matters relating to residential and commercial retrofit.Read more