Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Single-Family Home Retrofits

Posted October 22, 2018, under Blog

Retrofitting single-family homes is one of the most affordable seismic improvements you can make – with most retrofits costing less than $7,000.

After the 2014 earthquake that struck Napa, California, it was alarming to see how many homes were severely damaged and destroyed. Homes that had not been retrofitted suffered the most damage, with torn up foundations and distorted frames. Yet, homes in the area that were retrofitted years prior withstood the intense shaking from the quake and were left relatively unharmed.

Homeowners in Napa, who neglected urges from city officials to retrofit their properties, learned the hard way after the Napa quake — with owners facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs.

With such an affordable option available to protect local properties and the residents who reside there, city officials are pushing homeowners to take action now and retrofit their homes, before it’s too late.

Many cities throughout California – like Los Angeles – have started requiring the retrofits of wood-frame apartments and concrete buildings. But, there has yet to be an ordered mandate to retrofit single-family homes, which remain just as vulnerable to damage and destruction if a large earthquake were to occur.

The last sizeable quake that occurred under a densely populated area in California was 1994’s Northridge earthquake. The 6.7 shaker caused $42 billion in damage and destroyed some 14,000 homes and apartments in the area, leaving these properties uninhabitable.

After the Northridge earthquake wreaked havoc on structures in the area and it’s surrounding regions, apartment owners and homeowners took action, retrofitting their properties to ensure the safety of their investments and occupants.

However, that momentum has slowed … despite the remaining inventory of at-risk structures (like single-family homes) that still need seismic improvements.

While cities, like San Francisco, have made major improvements by requiring seismic upgrades to all new construction in the area, a massive earthquake on one of their nearby faults may leave residents safe at work, but with without a place to live as many single-family structures in the area remain without simple retrofits.

In a move to motivate homeowners throughout California to retrofit their properties state officials are expanding their $3,000 retrofit grants to homes that are elevated off of their foundation and homes that have a cripple wall.

In Southern California, areas in the Sand Fernando Valley, Pomona, Diamond Bar, Walnut, Yucaipa and Calimesa are now eligible for retrofit grants. Click here to apply online.

Now more than ever it’s important to be proactive about earthquake preparation and safety. Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation repair and foundation replacement.

Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 30,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair and earthquake retrofitting in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

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