We Provide High Quality Retrofits And Promote Education


In this video you will learn how we became the Bay Area’s number one seismic retrofit experts.  In addition, you will learn about our many achievement, including 25 years experience, post graduate education, and engineering training.  As a result, we believe this will inspire faith and trust in our ability to protect you and your greatest investment.

In this video you will learn about Bay Area Retrofit’s founder Howard Cook’s
mission to improve public safety.  He does this through public education and
contractor training.

Bay Area Retrofit’s qualifications include many contributions to the field.  This is all because of the efforts of structural engineer Nels Roselund.   He spent his half century long career as a Historic Building Preservation Engineer and building code development, specializing in the seismic retrofit of old buildings.  Thankfully, over the past twenty five years he has been teaching  me everything he knows about residential seismic retrofit engineering free of charge.   This comes from his strong belief that engineering should be used for the good of humanity.  I will forever be in debt to him.

I believe I know more about seismic retrofit engineering, especially how to apply these principles to actual houses,  than any other engineer in the field, except Nels.   He also introduced me to the leading seismic engineers at universities and research labs in the country.  He is not only the best structural engineer I have ever met, but is also a fine human being who believed, and showed by example, that earthquake engineering should be used to protect the public. Much of the information on this website is my attempt to do just that.

Education is Number One


Cartoon figure with light above head meaning seismic retrofit contractors must understand engineering principles as part of the job


An instructor standing in front of a table of students points to a wallboard



A Well-Trained Crew

Similarly,he passes his knowledge onto his employees.  In this way, he tries to make them seismic retrofit experts as well.  Seismic retrofits often have unexpected challenges.  These challenges make understanding seismic retrofit engineering a must.

This work requires unique individuals.  They must be intelligent enough to grasp the engineering principles. At the same, time they must be OK with crawling under houses all day.  It takes time to train such people and we must pay them well. We know we must pay well and treat well  to make sure the job is done right.

We are innovators

Bay Area Retrofit developed the Flush Cut Method, and is the only company in the state who uses it.  Bay Area Retrofit is the only seismic retrofit contractor in the country that uses Mudsill Plates. This hardware increases bolt strength.

Bay Area Retrofit’s Qualifications and Contributions


Learn for life logo showing Bay Area Retrofit's Qualifications


Co-author of Standard Plan A used by the California Earthquake Authority,  San Leandro’s “Retrofit Workshop” for homeowners and contractors, the City of Berkeley, as well as building departments all over the Bay Area.

Course Instructor:Principles and Practice of Earthquake Retrofitting”  2014 presented by the Association of Bay Area Governments.

Author of article  Seismic Retrofit for Cripple Walls, The Journal of Light Construction.   April, 2006.

Featured expert  The Hayward Fault. Predictable Peril.”  KQED, Channel 9.

Contributing Contractor California Works to Prepare for the Big One”, PBS News Hour.

Featured Expert in this KGO Documentary. 

Subject Expert in the  San Francisco Chronicle. 

Guest Lecturer “Retrofit Principles and Practice for the Home Inspection Industry.”  Sponsored by the Golden Gate Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Keynote speaker “The Preservation of Historical Wood-Framed Buildings” Sponsored by The City of Victoria Heritage Foundation in British Columbia.

Mayoral Appointee to the Berkeley Disaster Commission as a seismic retrofit expert.

Guest Lecturer: “Retrofit Principles and Practice for the Canadian Home Inspection Industry,” sponsored by the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors.

Primary source for an article in the San Jose Mercury News on Soft Story Retrofitting.

Residential Damage Inspector, FEMA.  1989-1994. 

Member Associations


Publications by Bay Area Retrofit

Cities and Counties We Serve in the San Francisco Bay Area

Bay Area Retrofit serves the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.  In addition, we serve the following cities:

Alameda Contra Costa Marin San Mateo Santa Clara Sonoma
Alameda Alamo Belvedere Atherton Alviso Cotati
Albany Antioch Corte Madera Belmont Campbell El Verano
Berkeley Bay Point Fairfax Brisbane Cupertino Glen Ellen
Castro Valley Bethel Island Greenbrae Burlingame Los Altos Kenwood
Dublin Blackhawk Kentfield Colma Los Altos Hills Rohnert Park
Emeryville Brentwood Larkspur Daly City Milpitas Santa Rosa
Fremont Byron Mill Valley East Palo Alto Monte Sereno Sebastopol
Hayward Canyon Novato Foster City Mount Hamilton Sonoma
Livermore Clayton Petaluma Hillsborough Mountain View
Newark Concord Ross Menlo Park Palo Alto
Oakland Crockett San Anselmo Millbrae San Jose
Piedmont Danville San Geronimo Pacifica Santa Clara
Pleasanton Diablo San Rafael Redwood City Saratoga
San Leandro Discovery Bay Sausalito San Bruno Sunnyvale
San Lorenzo El Cerrito Tiburon San Carlos
San Francisco El Sobrante San Mateo
Union City Hercules South San Francisco
Kensington Woodside