A Blog from The SF Chronicle Regarding Soft-Story Wood-Frame Buildings

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Get prepared: If you own one of San Francisco's estimated 4,400 wood-frame, "soft story" buildings - those particularly vulnerable to a major earthquake - there's a retrofit program for you.

And you might want to take advantage of it before you're forced to.

Under the city program, launched by legislative fiat on Monday, owners of pre-1973 soft-story buildings who sign up for a voluntary retrofit get their building permits expedited and fees waived, saving hundreds or thousands of dollars, according to the Department of Building Inspection.

You'll also be exempt for 15 years from stricter standards accompanying mandatory retrofitting legislation that may be enacted in the next several months.

The program, unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors last month, is based on a January 2009 Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS) analysis of the potential damage done to such buildings by major earthquakes, hypothetically judged more severe than the 1989 Loma Prieta quake (links.sfgate.com/ZJNQ).

Neighborhoods with large numbers of the buildings include the Marina, the Richmond and Sunset, Mission, Western Addition and Pacific Heights.

For more details, go to www.sfdbi.org, and click on "New Legislation on Soft-Story Wood-Frame Buildings."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/04/20/BUF61D0O2N.DTL#ixzz0lyCGM62S