The Importance of Home Retrofitters in the Los Angeles Area

A good way to help protect your home from damage during an earthquake is by having your house retrofitted. These structural enhancements make your house stronger, less likely to suffer damage and provide more stability for your house’s foundation.

When you decide to have your home retrofitted, the next step is to identify the house type and its vulnerabilities. This is usually done with the help of a structural engineer and a contractor. Once you have the information, it is easy to schedule a timeline for completion of the retrofit.

Older Homes & Raised Foundations

If you have an older home in the Los Angeles area, it is important to understand its foundation. It is not uncommon for some older homes to have raised foundations, which can be especially susceptible to a major earthquake. These foundations are often not properly bolted to the slab, and they may be prone to movement during an earthquake.

The city of Los Angeles passed an ordinance that mandates the seismic retrofitting of certain buildings if they cannot meet specific safety standards. The ordinance applies to multistory wood framed structures and buildings with ground floor parking or other similar open floor spaces.

These buildings are called “Soft Stories” and are most commonly found in multifamily apartments and condos. They are typically built under building code standards enacted before January 1, 1978.

You can check if your apartment or condo is one of these structures by visiting the City of LA’s Soft Story Retrofit Page.

Aside from preventing your home from suffering damage during an earthquake, these retrofits are also helpful in reducing the risk of a fire during a fire. A professional contractor can help you retrofit your home in a safe, efficient and affordable manner.

Earthquake Bolts & Foundation Inspections

In addition to earthquake retrofitting, it is important to have your home properly checked for foundation health. This can be done through a licensed home inspector. This inspection will include checking for water conservation devices, lights and locks, gas shutoff valves, metal bars safety release latches, smoke detectors and impact glazing.

Many houses in the Los Angeles area have foundations that are not properly bolted to the slab, putting them at risk during an earthquake. This can lead to the displacement of a house from its foundation and even cause a complete loss.

If your home has a damaged foundation, it can be costly to have it repaired. It’s best to have your foundation and other structural issues addressed as soon as possible.

Fortunately, the City of Los Angeles has a program that will help eligible homeowners cover some or all of the cost of their earthquake retrofit. The Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program is designed to help with the cost of installing a foundation bolt or brace on your home’s foundation.

This program will not only save you from the cost of a foundation bolt or brace, but it can also reduce your insurance premiums by up to 5%. If you have a high risk foundation, you can get a supplemental grant from EBB.