Find a Good Earthquake Seismic Retrofit Contractor

How to Find a Qualified Engineer or Earthquake Retrofit Contractor 

Which Earthquake Retrofit Contractor is Best for me?


Go no further!  A contractor put this website together and hopefully you can see how knowledgeable he is.  To request an evaluation just fill out this form.

Many homeowners and and contractors think retrofitting means putting in some bolts and nailing up some plywood.  It is not that simple.  Each retrofit must be designed specifically for each house using every tool and type of hardware imaginable.

This  New York Times article as well as this CBS News Report demonstrate how many homeowners have literally wasted 10 thousand dollars or more on retrofits that will not work.  This is because we do not have a retrofit building code or special licensing to  make sure a contractor or engineer knows how to retrofit a house.

The Science of Retrofitting

Contractors and engineers won’t be able to retrofit your house without being  familiar with the science.  This includes metallurgy, tests done in university and government testing laboratories, tests done by manufacturers, and familiarity with old building codes such as the ones shown below.  It is also important to understand how houses fail in earthquakes as shown in the thousands of photos at the  Earthquake Engineering Online Archive at UC Berkeley.

Getting a Referral.

Asking for references from non-professionals won’t be much help because all they can tell you is if the contractor was easy to deal with and if he had cleaned up after himself.  You want to know if the retrofit will hold up in an earthquake, not how friendly the contractor was.

Asking professionals such as members of the American Society of Home Inspectors is a far better because they know if a contractor does quality work.  A structural engineer such as this specialist in shear walls might also be a good idea.  You also might want to call this specialist in evaluating retrofits and overall earthquake preparedness.   These are just some suggestions you can probably find more.

After that it might be a good idea to  ask  the contractor two or three  and see if they know the answer.

1- Does your seismic retrofit contractor  know what the Base Shear Formula is and how it would apply to your retrofit?

2- Has he read this book on home retrofitting?

3- Does your earthquake retrofit contractor know about the 3 methods used in building retrofit shear walls are?

4- Does your seismic retrofit contractor  know which organization is responsible for shear wall tests in Canada and the United States?   This is also very important because their tests and reports are the basis of many provisions in the building code.

5- Is your contractor familiar with Appendix Chapter A3 of the International Existing Building Code?

6- Is your contractor  aware of any tests regarding the performance of old foundations? 

7-Is your contractor familiar with old building code provisions that specify the strength of existing structures. If you don’t know how resistant a building  already is, you can’t know where to address the weak

8- Does your seismic retrofit contractor know where to find the shear wall tables not listed in the International Building Code and can he tell you what the principle of rotation is?



Bay Area Retrofit
427 San Pablo Ave
Albany, CA 94706
Field offices in San Jose & Hayward


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License Info

Works' Comp RWCC64393236
Contractors Lic #558462
Bond #SC6334450
Liability Ins PCA 1045011
Link to Contractor's License Board