Seismic Retrofit Contractors In Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley

By Howard Cook, Founder and General Manager of Bay Area Retrofit


Residential Seismic Retrofit Contractors for the past 21 Years!

Bay Area Retrofit provides the most detailed and well thought out designs and proposals in the business.  It was founded in 1994 by general manager Howard Cook who became a seismic retrofit contractor after evaluating earthquake damaged homes first hand working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.   He has intensively researched the subject first hand damage in the Los Angeles Northridge Earthquake and Loma Preieta San Francisco earthquake. During the past 21 years he has developed important relationships with the best seismic retrofit engineers as well as numerous commanding seismic testing laboratories.

He took the FEMA sponsored course in seismic retrofitting 5 times and now teaches that course for the Association of Bay Area Governments.

One important factor in figuring out if you should retrofit for not is the proximity of your house to a known earthquake fault.

Howard wrote an article for the Journal of Light Construction, a magazine targeting construction professionals, and was interviewed as a seismic retrofit expert on national and local TV.

You also need to protect yourself from unscrupulous contractors.

We have devoted a webpage that explores the ins and outs of worker’s compensation and liability insurance.  Hiring a licensed contractor is of course a good idea.  It means you can go after his $5000 bond with the State Contractor’s Licensing Board.  However, just because he has a license does not mean you are protected if someone gets injured.  Many contractors have employees but do not carry workers’ compensation insurance as required by law.  This insurance is expensive and reduces a contractor’s ability to compete.  It is extremely important that you look into this  or you could lose your house rather than save it.


                       Education is our First Priority

Seismic Retrofit Contractor teaching our clients

Making sure you know what you are getting for your money

As a consumer you should ask questions so that you are sure you are getting what you paid for before proceeding.  Our FAQ page answers most of those questions.  

A Well-Trained Crew

Howard holds classes to make sure our employees understand the engineering behind retrofitting and how to apply it.  Seismic retrofits often have unexpected challenges and training in engineering is vital.

It takes a unique individual to be smart enough to grasp the engineering principles and at the same time be OK with crawling under houses all day which is what seismic retrofitters must do.

What do seismic retrofit contractors do?

Educating our Employees

We are innovators

Bay Area Retrofit developed the Flush Cut Method so we could do work that was based on the best science. This method creates seismic retrofits that are better and stronger.

In addition, Bay Area Retrofit is the only seismic retrofit contractor in the country that uses Mudsill Plates, a type of hardware made after the Northridge Earthquake.


Howard saw a great opportunity when he was able to bring in the Bay Area Retrofit’s Operations Manager, Jeff Bailey, as a partner in 2005.  Howard believed Jeff’s enthusiasm, 40+ years in construction,  and a degree in construction management  made him highly qualified for this important position.


Cities and Counties We Serve in the San Francisco Bay Area

Bay Area Retrofit serves the following cities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Alameda Contra Costa Marin San Mateo Santa Clara Sonoma
Alameda Alamo Belvedere Atherton Alviso Cotati
Albany Antioch Corte Madera Belmont Campbell El Verano
Berkeley Bay Point Fairfax Brisbane Cupertino Glen Ellen
Castro Valley Bethel Island Greenbrae Burlingame Los Altos Kenwood
Dublin Blackhawk Kentfield Colma Los Altos Hills Rohnert Park
Emeryville Brentwood Larkspur Daly City Milpitas Santa Rosa
Fremont Byron Mill Valley East Palo Alto Monte Sereno Sebastopol
Hayward Canyon Novato Foster City Mount Hamilton Sonoma
Livermore Clayton Petaluma Hillsborough Mountain View
Newark Concord Ross Menlo Park Palo Alto
Oakland Crockett San Anselmo Millbrae San Jose
Piedmont Danville San Geronimo Pacifica Santa Clara
Pleasanton Diablo San Rafael Redwood City Saratoga
San Leandro Discovery Bay Sausalito San Bruno Sunnyvale
San Lorenzo El Cerrito Tiburon San Carlos
Sunol El Sobrante San Mateo
Union City Hercules South San Francisco
Kensington Woodside


Interviewed on Channel 9 PBS Documentary and The News House

Member: Structural Engineer’s Association of Northern California

Instructor for the Association of Bay Area Governments

Member :Earthquake Engineering Research Institute

Member: International Code Council



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Headquartered at:

Bay Area Retrofit
427 San Pablo Ave
Albany, CA 94706
With field offices in San Jose and Hayward.

Company License Info

Works' Comp #3900008328-011
Contractors Lic #558462
Bond #511-67-26
Liability Ins GL 3984008