Following San Francisco’s example, the city of Berkeley also adopted a mandatory seismic retrofit requirement for soft, weak, and open front buildings. This requirement applies only to wood frame buildings that have five or more units and were constructed before 1978. With the help of FEMA and Emergency Services Office, design and construction grants have been made available for property owners. Although these seismic retrofit grants do not cover all of the costs associated with the retrofit, it is still a great help to property owners going through this process. Property owners are able to receive reimbursement for design costs up to $5,000 and are also eligible to receive 30% or 40% reimbursement for the cost of construction.
If an owner applies for a design grant as well, they can receive up to 30% of the construction costs. If a building owner does not apply for a design grant, they could be reimbursed with up to 40% of the costs of construction. For example, if a property owner received a design grant of $5,000 and the costs of construction were $40,000 he or she would receive a reimbursement of $12,000 for construction (30%).
Unfortunately there are no grants available yet for buildings containing less than 5 units. However, the city of Berkeley is not ruling out the possibility of grants becoming available for smaller buildings in the future. In conclusion, your city council members are not happy that you must incur the costs of retrofitting. It is, however, very important that unsafe buildings are retrofitted to avoid the damages that a large earthquake could bring.
It is a priority of Penhall Company Seismic Retrofit Services to provide quality service at a reasonable price. We retrofit with a purpose – we have been first responders after the devastating effects of earthquakes in California. We believe every life matters. Our daily goal is to make people safer one retrofit at a time.
More information can be found on the City of Berkeley’s Retrofit Grants website.