Contractors Trained for Earthquake Retrofit of Wood Frame Homes

The following licensed contractors have completed training for the seismic retrofit of wood-frame homes, conducted by ABAG and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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Contractors’ liability coverage, workers’ compensation insurance, and licenses were verified at the time of training, however, homeowners should check with the contractor or the Contractor’s State License Board to see if these are still valid. Please be sure you have a building permit for this type of work. A building permit protects you via the inspection process and provides a record showing that work was done in accordance with accepted standards and local codes.

This list of contractors includes people who have been trained on the appropriate way to seismically upgrade a home. There is no guarantee that they will follow the training provided to them. In addition, some contractors are marketing themselves as ‘seismic retrofit’ specialists and telling homeowners that they should pay for a variety of services that are probably not needed. For example, the need to replace bolts due to rust is highly unlikely. The promotion of a need to brace the posts holding up the central portion of the home to offer a benefit in an earthquake is not warranted. The focus of a retrofit should be on properly bolting the “mud sill” to the foundation, installing plywood on a portion of the inside of all crawlspace walls (cripple walls) and fastening the cripple walls to the floor framing above.

When to call an engineer about your home

ABAG has also compiled a list of engineers. Some owners of single-family homes should call an engineer or other design professional, rather than a contractor. The following are examples of conditions best examined by an engineer. (Adapted from a paper by Tony DeMoscole by ABAG staff and ABAG’s Housing Mitigation Review Committee)

  • Your home has two or more stories
  • Your home has more than four residential units
  • Your home has an unusual shape, is very long and narrow, or is shaped like an “L”
  • Your home has a two-car or larger garage with rooms above it, or is a “split-level”
  • Your home has a porch that is recessed under a second story
  • Your foundation is brick or is weak
  • Your home is almost touching an adjacent home
  • Your home has a two-car or larger garage with rooms above it, or is a “split-level”
  • Your home is on a steep hill
  • Part of your home is supported by posts, not a wall
Last updated: 09.17.2014