Is Earthquake Retrofit Worth It?

Are you prepared for the next earthquake to hit? Don’t just answer quickly, take a moment to think about your response. While certain areas of your home might be fortified for seismic activity, your structure is overall only as strong as its weakest link. That means that any areas that have worn out over time or weren’t properly fortified in the first place could be threatening the security of your entire building.

With earthquakes threatening Los Angeles County residents at all times, the next big quake is just around the bend. But is seismic retrofitting worth the investment? Allow us to explore the different factors that go into determining if an earthquake retrofit is the best choice for your property, as well as available savings.

Related: Reasons Los Angeles Homes Need Foundation Inspections

What is Earthquake Retrofitting?

Many Southern California residents are well aware of earthquake retrofitting requirements in their area, but allow us to elaborate on the process and its requirements. Earthquake retrofitting is performed to secure any vulnerable areas of buildings to lower the risk of damage and destruction in the event of seismic activity.

Typically this customizable process involves cripple wall bracing to keep the structure firmly intact and foundation bolting to hold the building securely in place. This dual process allows for complete structural support that greatly lowers the possibility of the building being damaged in the event of seismic activity. Because earthquakes are so prevalent in the greater Los Angeles area, many buildings are required by law to undergo retrofits to decrease the risk of injury, damage, and death during an earthquake.


Do I Need an Earthquake Retrofit?

Thousands of homes across Los Angeles County and surrounding cities have been affected by laws mandating seismic retrofits on soft-story buildings. Buildings that are particularly vulnerable to earthquakes include structures built before 1979, wood-framed structures, hillside homes, and structures with large open spaces on the ground level, such as parking lots or oversized windows.

However, the truth is that structural vulnerabilities of any sort put a home at risk whether or not a mandatory retrofit order has been mailed. Since earthquakes are unpredictable, the longer a homeowner waits to secure their home, the greater the risk becomes for property damage and injury.

Additionally, the most cost effective way to deal with any home project is through preventative action. Verifying that your home is fully secured and getting any needed seismic retrofitting completed as soon as possible is ultimately the safest, smartest, and cheapest solution for homeowners.

What Happens If I Don’t Retrofit?

Simply put, there are no benefits of not having your home inspected for a seismic retrofit as soon as possible. Any situation that involves the ground moving, no matter how minor the quake, can cause damage to the home and its foundation.

That means that even small earthquakes can cause catastrophic financial damage for the average homeowner. With a very low percentage of California homeowners having earthquake damage insurance, failing to get a seismic retrofit could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If the foundation of the home becomes damaged do to insufficient seismic retrofitting, the entire structure can become compromised. Therefore, acting as soon as possible is the smartest choice a homeowner can make. Delaying a retrofit will only jeopardize your safety and investment, as non-reinforced homes will suffer during seismic activity. And with cost recovery programs for seismic retrofitting, it makes no sense to delay the earthquake retrofit process.

What is EBB?

The Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program was designed to assist California residents with the cost of their seismic retrofits to reduce earthquake damage in California. EBB assists homeowners with seismic retrofit costs by providing up to $3,000 to assist with retrofitting expenses for eligible homeowners. EBB aids with funds related to earthquake retrofit costs, namely brace and bolt services for crawl spaces in residential dwellings.

To become eligible for EBB, homes must meet Chapter A3 specifications. The specifications include that the home must contain wood framing and it must be located on a low slope or ground level. Homes constructed before 1979 have a higher chance of qualifying for EBB. All interested homeowners must apply for the program as soon as possible since seismic retrofit work cannot commence until EBB has been approved.

Related: How to Retrofit Your Home Against Earthquakes 

Earthquake Brace Bolt

How to Sign Up for EBB

If you’re interested in receiving earthquake retrofit savings, then it’s time to apply to EBB. Homeowners with qualifying homes can submit an application for review as long as they are located within EBB zip codes and have the home as a primary residence. Eligible houses can register one time per house, with approved applications for houses that have not received prior EBB funding being placed in a pool for random selection.

To determine the houses that receive grants, an electronic system is used. To keep the process clear, all candidates are notified of their progress by email and informed of their position at the start of the year. Since registration fills up fast, it’s highly encouraged that interested homeowners visit as soon as possible to learn about program dates, vacancies, and more. Fortunately, the right contractor can guide you through the process to make sure that all EBB eligible homes can apply for compensation.

Feeling overwhelmed? Luckily we’re here to help. At California Foundation Works, we make it easy to obtain EBB savings by helping you register. It’s our goal to deliver your ideal services at the best price on the market, so we’re always available to search for deals and assist with budgeting. Don’t let the next big quake be the ruin of your home! Work with us to discover the best solutions for keeping your property safe, secure, and within your budget.

Related: Guide for Earthquake Brace and Bolt EBB 

At California Foundation Works, we strive to deliver excellence in all of our projects. From repairs to resurfacing, we take every precaution necessary to deliver top of the line services to fully address individual project needs.

We work within our clients’ budgets and time constraints to provide premium services that are tailor-made for our clients. Call today to explore the wide range of concrete resurfacing methods that will restore the surface of your concrete to its original condition!

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