Seismic retrofitting in San Francisco. Is it mandatory? Is it mandatory for a single family? Keep reading and you will find out as we talk about it now.
So for those that don't know, seismic retrofitting is structurally sounding the house or the building to withstand loads, pressures. In this case in San Francisco earthquakes, so retrofitting would be to reinforce foundations, reinforce headers, making sure everything can withstand big, massive earthquakes and that the house does not shift off of the foundation OR crumble and collapse when a quake happens.
There's an order and a process that goes into seismic retrofitting you home, with coding requirements and inspections and designs, the normal for any remodeling process.
So as a construction company, we always want to make sure that we understand the new laws, the new mandates. So, Edri Construction called the city and asked them what are the requirements for a mandated seismic retrofit or a soft story retrofit? And they told us five unit budlings that were built two stories high, and before 1978. They said it has to have five dwellings, at least five dwellings in it.
To which we replied,
"What about the single family homes? Are they exempt?"He said,
"We don't worry about single family. They don't have to do mandatory upgrades?"We figured since the mandate was for earthquake safety and protection of the Bay area people, surely everyone with a home built before 1978 would HAVE to do the retrofitting???
So, the conversation with the San Francisco Building Department continued…
"What if a single family home owner added an additional four to five dwelling units?"Because that's very common in San Francisco to do. He said, "No. It has to be built five units, two stories." we said,
"Well, what if you had certain square footage? Does square footage minimums and maximus come into play?"
No, it does not!....... Excuse me!?!?!?!?
So, you’ve got to think about this. It's not mandatory for single family homes to get retrofitted. HOWEVER, there's no square footage requirements? There are no requirements on additionally built ADU buildings or ADU dwelling units? it makes us think… is it really mandatory for our safety? or is it some sort of litigation play? Is the city safeguarding themselves by only making it mandatory to commercial buildings (5+ units are considered commercial, 4 units and under are still considered residential) with tenants.
To us, this sounds like a political play on the city’s end. If safety is the reason for doing this and retrofitting is mandatory to maintain the integrity of the building and safeguard the families that are inside the building, whether single-family, or any building in San Francisco, then, why not make it mandatory for single family as well? A single-family building built in 1901, is subject to the same risk when it comes to an earthquake. Building requirements have changed and technology and research has grown. There are single family homes BIGGER than some smaller 5 unit buildings in San Francisco but the integrity of THAT building is exempt?
So we're telling ALL of our clients to seismic retrofit your home regardless of any requirements or not.
If you want a free inspection and construction consultation, call us today to set up a quick appointment with Edri Construction
When we do the fully remodeled packages for our clients, we're seismic retrofitting those as well, because you can have a single family be as just as big as a two-story five unit building in square footage. Every house in San Francisco is two to three stories, by the way. So that part's covered. But the square footage, home build year and the age of the single family home, type of layout, soil and footing in certain areas of the city, It all makes us wonder? It all sounds contrived or even made up to us and with no logic behind it.
So again, we're telling our clients to do it anyway. The mandates that they have, they apply to all our projects. So we go above and beyond and do that. If you're still confused about the whole thing, we'd love to sit down and talk more about it with you. But as far as the mandates, single family are exempt with gray area. Commercial buildings, five units, two stories built before 1978. That's where it's at. But again, use your head here. Think about it a little bit. If they don't have mandates, if we add on five stories to a single family, but it's still not mandatory to do the seismic retrofitting, that doesn't make sense to us. If you have a home that's bigger in square footage than a five unit commercial building, two stories, but it's not necessary, that just really doesn't make sense to us.
So again, we're telling all our clients to do it anyway. If you call us up and you get a free estimate, ask about our seismic retrofitting program where we go ahead and remodel the whole house, reinforce the foundation and all the headers, and make it seismic retrofit approved. But then when we're doing this, we also find that we can add a little bit more square footage to your home. Our clients also got appraisals after and found the home equity and worth was 2-3x MORE than the cost of the remodel, essentially it cost our customers NOTHING for all the construction! So if you call us right now, ask about our seismic retrofit package, we have something bundled very nice for you. If you're thinking about a remodel, probably be the best option for you.