Berkeley Wastes Money on their Retrofit Program

Retrofitting and Bolting down Berkeley was a Waste of Money

After the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake the City Council decided to retrofit Berkeley and bolt down the City with seismic retrofits paid for out of Berkeley City tax funds.  This occurred after the 1989 earthquake where over half the residents wanting to bolt down and retrofit Berkeley mandated that 1/2 of one percent of the purchase price of a house be used to fund bolting and bracing of the new owner’s house. This amounted to a large some of money being used to retrofit Berkeley’s housing stock to prevent homelessness and structural damage.

City Council voting to Retrofit Berkeley

Council members who have never retrofitted a house in their lives vote to retrofit Berkeley

Berkeley Retrofits its housing Stock without a Retrofit Building Code.

At the same time the City of Berkeley relied on the California Building Code to provide code guidance in terms of what would be deemed a seismic retrofit.  As it turned out, Berkeley approved anything so long as “retrofit” was on the building permit.  This resulted in houses being bolted without installing the other necessary parts of a shear wall or the use of hardware that did not do anything to protect it from earthquakes.   The Berkeley Disaster Commission determined that 20 million dollars was spent on bolting and earthquake bracing that would not protect these homes from structural damage.    Please see this article on how the City Failed to Retrofit Berkeley.


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Don’t Try This At Home

This website is intended to help clients of Bay Area Retrofit to understand their retrofit plan, and as a resource for retrofit professionals.

IT IS NOT INTENDED AS A GUIDE FOR DIY RETROFITS. Retrofit design is based on many factors. Each house is unique. Bay Area Retrofit does not recommend performing a retrofit without the guidance and supervision of experienced and knowledgeable retrofit professionals, and is not responsible for costly errors, injuries, or earthquake damage that result from such attempts.

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