Soft Story retrofit in Los Angeles

Soft story retrofitting in Los Angeles is mandatory, Avoid Expensive Penalties‎.
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The City of Los Angeles recently passed Ordinance 183893, which requires the retrofit of pre-1978 wood-frame soft-story buildings and non-ductile concrete buildings.

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Soft Story Retrofit Los Angeles Information – It’s A Law

For people and businesses, being in Los Angeles exciting.  With so much to see and do, this is the city that people have a love/hate relationship with.

This is because as much as they love the scenery, activities, and nightlife, they are also uneasy.  This is because they live in a city that is prone to earthquakes.

Just the thought of the big earthquake coming can rattle their nerves.  When people think about their safety, let alone the costs of all the damages from the effects of this type of event, they become a bit nervous, to say the least.

Knowing that another large earthquake is going to hit soon, nerves are on edge and preparations need to be made.

Buildings must follow the laws in Los Angeles for protecting people during seismic activity, especially one that is of a high magnitude.

The earthquake of a significant magnitude nature is imminent and it is just a matter of when it will happen.


The Mandatory Soft Story Retrofit Program was created by the Earthquake Safety Implementation Program in 2013 as a community-based multi-year effort. It was enforced initially to ensure the safety and resilience of the housing stock in San Francisco through foundation repair retrofitting wood-framed, older multi-family units with the soft-story condition. The regulation, however, has also made its way to Los Angeles. (sof story retrofit Los Angeles)

Numerous commercial, residential and apartment buildings that have the soft-story condition (Los Angeles Foundation Repair). The term describes a building that has habitable room(s) over the garage, porch or carport area that isn’t specially designed for transmitting shear or lateral forces up to the above story.

Ordinances are being drafted by many California counties requiring all soft-story buildings be earthquake retrofitted. A report started to be developed in January 2014, by the city of Los Angeles, with cooperation from the Structure Engineers of Southern California among others that outlined a plan for the city for creating a seismic program to repair foundation in Los Angeles. The intention was for improving the city’s resiliency in the event of a significant seismic event.

On December 8, 2014, the report ‘Resilience by Design‘ was issued. The plan included a recommendation for seismically evaluating and strengthening the soft-story multi-family buildings in Los Angeles City . Internal resources are used by the city to identify any soft-story buildings that the program effects repairing Concrete Foundations.

More than half of the buildings are located in San Fernando Valley and on the Westside, were cited as being seismically vulnerable and in need for Foundation Inspection in Los Angeles. Apartment buildings in San Fernando Valley need to be Soft Story retrofitted.

There are rental units over parking spots in soft-story buildings that are supported only be a couple or vertical columns rather than a solid foundation. The columns may buckle if an earthquake takes place. The building could end up pancaking and coming directly down on whatever is underneath it if they do not have Foundation Repairs or at minimum a Foundation Inspection Service.

Renters who live in one of the cited buildings are especially interested in this list.  It affects not only their safety but their finances as well.  In Los Angeles the demand for new housing is enormous.  Construction crews have been barely able to keep up with this demand, which has caused prices to skyrocket.

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Earthquakes & Soft story retrofit


Earthquakes such as the 1987 Whittier, 1989 Loma prieta, 1994 Northridge, and 2001 Nisqually, Washington have caused extensive damage to thousands of wood-framed homes. the resulting damage has helped to advance new products and methods that improve the structural integrity of buildings.


The City of Los Angeles recently passed Ordinance 183893 which requires the retrofit of pre-1978 wood-frame soft-story buildings and non-ductile concrete buildings. The goal of the mandatory retrofit program, under the ordinance, is to reduce these structural deficiencies and improve the performance of these buildings during earthquakes, reduce structural deficiencies by the most economical and feasible method.


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Soft Story Retrofit Los Angeles


The Soft Story Retrofit Los Angeles is all about making sure that buildings are safe for people to live and work in.

In the year 2015, in the month of November, Los Angeles put through a law.  This law is the Mandatory Retrofit Program and it is filed under an Ordinance 183893.

This means that the buildings must be fixed in order to pass the law.  When looking into the soft story retrofit Los Angeles,

what exactly determines a soft story building?  Here are some points to consider:


  1. Soft Story Building – According to Jbros softStory retrofit, Inc., multiple stories in a building can have lots of problems.
    That is because the first floor is not built safely to withstand a large earthquake. The floors above the ground level will tend to fall in on themselves.
    The entire building will collapse.  During an earthquake the lower floor because of the fact that it has unreinforced openings cannot withstand the pressure, causing the upper floors to collapse on top of it.
    The Soft Story Retrofit is what will help to stop this from happening in the future.


  1. The Law – With the Soft Story Retrofit Los Angeles, any building that has structural problems must be fixed. This is a law that is strictly enforced in Los Angeles.
    It was put into place to protect lives and avoid costly damages that can be the result when an earthquake of a significant magnitude hits the area.


  1. Proactive: Los Angeles is being proactive rather than reactive and they have the toughest laws on earthquake safety in the nation.
    Other cities are following suit for earthquake preparedness because they are also apt to suffer the damages that the big earthquake will entail.


  1. Earthquake Preparedness: The City of Los Angeles has a fantastic earthquake safety program in place.
    People know what to do in the event of the unprecedented earthquake, which is said to be coming soon.
    With the new law, loss of life will be kept at a minimum and damages will not be as great.


  1. Bringing Into Compliance: There are many buildings that are not safe in Los Angeles at this time.
    They need to be in code to be considered safe.  These buildings are considered soft story buildings and there are over 13,000 of them that need to be improved.
    It is mandatory that the owners comply with the law.


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Los Angeles Soft Story Retrofit Program:


The Los Angeles Soft Story Retrofit Program has been adopted by other cities in the area.  The Los Angeles Soft Story Retrofit Program has made it a law that the owners of buildings that can be significantly damaged in an earthquake must comply with the law in the set amount of time.

The strict compliance with this law is necessary because the loss of life and costs of damages will be too high when a large earthquake hits the area.  These points are key to remember about the Los Angeles Soft Story Retrofit Program:


  1. Details: The New York Times states that there was a lot of devastation from the earthquake that occurred in 1994. Experts know that there is an earthquake bound to happen soon.  Preparations must be made.


  1. Importance: The Soft Story Retrofit Program was put into place to save lives and prevent a catastrophe.  With the costs from damages that can be incurred, this program was bound to be initiated in Los Angeles.


  1. Moving Forward: There are many business owners that are rightfully frustrated.  Of course, they know that they need to comply.  It is mandatory that they have a contractor that is trained and experience in the field to take a look at their building to determine what needs to be done to enable them to be in full compliance with the Los Angeles Soft Story Retrofit Program mandate.

Los Angeles Soft Story Retrofit Costs


When people think of the Los Angeles Soft Story Retrofit costs, there have been estimates that are stating in the billions of dollars.
The Los Angeles Soft Story Retrofit costs estimates include the private and public sectors with all in full compliance with the laws.

It will not be for many years that they will know the full amount for the costs that will be incurred by building owners.


Soft Story Retrofit Contractors Los Angeles


Soft story retrofit contractors Los Angeles are specialists at what they do.  They are able to get a building up to code so that an owner will be in compliance with the law.

The Soft Story Retrofit contractors Los Angeles will come into a building and do a thorough inspection.  Thorough explanations and discussions will take place with the building owner so that they understand what is happening.

The contractors know the building codes and they are adept and finding the most cost-effective ways of solving the problems.  Since they are experts at what they do, they can pinpoint the troubles with the building right away.

For many building owners, they are looking at plywood shear walls that help to strengthen the existing walls and steel frames to correct their structural defects. The contractor that are specialists in fixing soft story buildings are able to complete the following:


  1. Design: The Soft Story Retrofit contractors Los Angeles are experts at design.  They know what they are up against and can formulate a plan that will work in function and practicality.  The entire building will be inspected from top to bottom so that the building owner will know exactly what they need to do.


  1. Engineering: The engineering aspects are thoroughly implemented.  From top to bottom, the soft story retrofit contractors Los Angeles will complete the project from start to finish.  Building owners can feel a sense of relief that they will have the experts working on getting them in full compliance with the law.


  1. Procuring Retrofit Permit – Any and all paperwork can be submitted so that the building owner can be relieved. These experts know the law and what is needed to be completed so a business owner will know that they are in full compliance with the law in the timeframe that they are given.

Soft Story Retrofit Financing Los Angeles


With the law put into effect, there will be high expenses that building owners will incur.  There are many options for financing that are available.  Owners of buildings must comply and they need to look into ways that they can be assisted with the financial responsibilities that they will incur.

For soft story retrofit financing Los Angeles, building owners will find that they can apply for grants, loans, and tax breaks that will assist them with the financing.  For some other building owners, they are allowed to ask their tenants to help to pay for the upgrades.

The tenant input can be at the amount of up to 50% for the soft story retrofit financing Los Angeles compliance with the law.  Once building owners are in compliance, they will be able to save money on their insurance premiums because they will be lowered after their buildings are safe for people to live and work in.

Building owners will want to keep this in mind:


  1. Grants – There are grants that a building owner can apply for. These do not need to be paid back and they will help fund the repair and construction costs that they will incur for bringing their building up to code.


  1. Loans – A building owner can apply for loans to help them with the costs for this endeavor. They will be able to find loans that have low-interest rates so that they can meet the mandate requirements.


  1. Tenant Participation – Another option for a building owner is requiring tenant participation in the costs that are needed to complete the mandated requirements. Up to 50% of the costs can be asked for from the tenants in order to provide the building safety codes to protect all lives during the big earthquake.


  1. Lower Insurance Premiums – The mandate requires full compliance by the business owners. Once they are in full compliance, they will see their insurance premiums lowered.  This can save them a lot of money in the future.

Client Testimonials

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I interviewed 5 different contractors and immediately knew that Bernardo Alvarez from J Bros Construction was the company to go with. I just recently purchased a home that needed some renovating, and Bernardo Alvarez immediately made me feel at ease. I hired them to do a complete remodel of my bathroom. He gave me a fair estimate, and stayed within budget. Mr. Alvarez communicated well and advised me step by step from start to finish on the process. I was very pleased with the work they did in my bathroom and hired them to repair the ceiling in my bedroom. I’m very pleased.

Caroline T.

Bernardo Alvarez completed a floor to ceiling, wall to wall bathroom redo for me. He presented a bid and time schedule and I’m happy to report stuck to both. Mr. Alvarez was there through every step of the process. He was very accomodating and accompanied me to pick out fixtures and tiles and always offered his expert opinion. His work crew was very clean and never left a mess. Friends and family are blown away with how beautiful my bathroom looks and I highly recommend the services of J Bros Construction and Mr. Bernardo Alvarez.

John I.

Bernardo and his crew are good, responsible people. They are fair, trustworthy and have completed numerous jobs for me around my home. Bernardo and his crew have repaired my ceiling that suffered water damage, repaired my bannisters, painting, wood flooring, they do it all. They go out of their way to please and make sure they get the job done right. I appreciate how amicable they are and will continue to use their services in the future.

Kith F.

I have worked with Bernardo on 5 or 6 projects. He is my contractor of choice. I rehab homes and he is the contractor I contact. From foundation work to plumbing and painting Bernardo and his team get the job done. Bernardo is easy to work with,communicates well, and manages his crew very efficiently. He is honest, reliable, and provides high quality work at reasonable prices.

Jonathan S.

My wife and I feel very lucky that we were able to work with Bernardo and his crew. When we were searching for a house to buy, he looked at the property before we bought it. The job itself was big: We added an addition and did major renovations to the rest of the house. He and his crew were beyond professional. Everything was done on time and on budget. He was flexible and accommodating when unexpected issues came up. He was honest and transparent when it came to his bid and some adjustments that we had to make along the way. Now the house looks beautiful and we are so happy. Bernardo is honest, decent, and a genuinely good person. We wholeheartedly recommend him and J Bros Construction, and we look forward to working with them again.

Nicholas C.

J Bros Construction did an amazing job remodeling my bathroom.The finished work is spectacular. Bernardo completed the work on time and well within budget. He was always available to answer any questions or concerns I had and made sure I knew what was happening at all times. I recommend his services to everyone.

Natasha B.

Los Angeles Soft Story Retrofit Mandate Deadline


The Los Angeles Soft Story Retrofit Mandate deadline was put into place to save lives and reduce the damages that can be caused by a major earthquake that will hit in the Los Angeles area in the near future.

Since it is known that the big earthquake is on its way, the Los Angeles Soft Story Retrofit Mandate deadline was made to cut down on the loss of life and the costs of damages.

In order to comply with the provisions of the law, an owner may receive a notice to have the work completed on the structure.  Here is what happens from the time that the owner receives the notice, which is called an Order to Comply:


  1. A Two-Year Span – The owner must show that they complied with the retrofit. They can also show that they will demolish the building or that they have plans in the making for the retrofit.


  1. A Three And A Half-Year Span – With the provisions for the three and a half years, owners must show a permit that states that new construction will begin. They can also opt for a permit to show that demolition will take place.


  1. A Seven-Year Span – The owner must show the retrofit of construction. This is mandatory but in January 2019 there are still over 4,000 buildings that have not started with the retrofitting plans.
    Building owners will receive their Order to Comply so that they will have the notice that they need to get things done in a correct and efficient manner.


  1. Other Information – Since there are still many owners of buildings that are not in compliance with the new law, they are being urged to get their plans into place. The New York Times stated, that there are numerous buildings that have problems.  They estimate the number to be in the thousands.


  1. Incredible Effects If The Mandate Is Not Followed: It is known that when owners do not comply, they not only face trouble with the law but they could face many lawsuits that can amount in the millions of dollars.
    The owners are responsible for anything that happens if they do not comply with the law and damages are incurred by the people living in or working in their buildings.
    When they receive their Order to Comply, they need to take note and institute a plan immediately.

What Is The Construction Cost Of A Soft Story Retrofit?


The construction costs of a Soft Story Retrofit will depend on the size of the building and the amount of work that needs to be completed.  An estimate of the costs for the construction to be given to a building owner would take place during an inspection of the structure.  The construction contractor will need to get an idea of the total job improvements that are needed in order to give a better estimate of the costs.  Here is what will happen when a building owner enlists the services of a contractor:


  1. Contact – The building owner will want to reach out to their contractor. They will need to set up a day and time to have a consultation on the matters at hand.


  1. Initial Inspection – An inspection of the building will be completed by the contractor. A thorough exam of the building will be completed.


  1. Discussion – The contractor will discuss the most cost-efficient ways to complete the work at hand. At this time, the building owner can ask questions that they might have about payment options that the contractor will accept.


  1. Institution – Work will begin on fulfilling the mandate requirements. At every step of the way, the building owner will have the ability to ask questions and be a part of the process.


  1. Completion – The work is completed. A building owner will be relieved that they are in full compliance with the mandated requirements.


With the laws being implemented and followed, it is the hope that Los Angeles will survive the dreaded earthquake with minimal loss of life and the avoidance of major damages to buildings.  The retrofit in Los Angeles is something that had to be implemented and complied with for everyone’s sake.  The City of Los Angeles is proud to say that they are prepared in many ways for this great earthquake to occur.  Their preparedness is proactive and genuine, with hopes that all lives will be protected during the inevitable event and devastating outcomes can be avoided.



“Earthquake Plan Would Require Retrofitting Thousands of Los Angeles Buildings”,,



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