History of the Mandatory Soft Story Program

The Mandatory Soft Story  Retrofit Program (MSSRP) was created in 2013 by Mayor Ed Lee and the City’s Earthquake Safety Implementation Program (ESIP). ESIP is a thirty-year, fifty-task plan to both reduce impacts to the City from earthquakes and increase the City’s overall resilience. This program is run through the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection and requires the retrofit of San Francisco’s older, wood-framed, multi-family, soft story buildings.

The background research and analysis for this program was conducted as part of a 10-year community process called the Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS), whom determined that these soft story buildings were our City’s greatest risk, and, through a community-led process, determined that they should be retrofitted.  These buildings are all wood frame buildings containing five or more dwelling units, two or more stories, and permitted for construction prior to January 1978. As part of this program, all potentially affected property owners were noticed beginning in September 2013 and were required to have submitted their screening forms to the Department of Building Inspection by September 15, 2014. Buildings that have not complied with this requirement, and any future requirements, will be placarded and issued Notices of Violation.

This new ordinance was adopted to guide property owners on seismic strengthening in order to better protect highly vulnerable buildings from collapse during the next major earthquake. Extensive research has found that buildings in the ‘soft-story’ category are highly susceptible to major structural damage – making the seismic strengthening of such buildings a civic priority to protect those living or doing business in such buildings.

The Association of Bay Area Governments estimates that soft-story residential buildings will be responsible for 66 percent of the uninhabitable housing following a seismic event on the Hayward fault.

For additional information, see below or visit the Earthquake Safety Implementation Program’s (ESIP) Soft Story website.

Ordinance Information



Building and Property Resources

Frequently Asked Questions