Seismic retrofit contractor Howard Cook founded Bay Area Retrofit in 1994 after looking at earthquake damaged homes first hand.  In light of his skills as a remodeling contractor, the Federal Emergency Management Agency hired him in 1989 to evaluate earthquake damaged homes after the Loma Prieta Earthquake. This work with FEMA, along with his skills as a contractor, made him uniquely qualified to start this business.

Learning the Engineering

He knew he needed an understanding of retrofit engineering principles so he could use his practical skills to install the best retrofit possible.  He discovered this information was literally impossible to find in written form, not to mention the unavailability of formal courses.  In light of this he use his experience from graduate school and intensively researched the subject.  In the process he  developed important first name basis relationships with the best seismic retrofit engineers and specialists in the country.  This website is the result of those years of research.

Bay Area Retrofit has received excellent reviews from Angie’s list and YELP in addition to recommendations from some of the finest engineers in the field. Bay Area Retrofit’s emphasis on education and research make them a leader in the field.  In the same fashion Howard still conducts research and has made many contributions to the field.  In 2006  the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and local KQED invited him to participate in two documentaries.


For Professional Seismic Retrofit Contractors Education is Number One


Cartoon figure with light above head meaning seismic retrofit contractors must understand engineering principles as part of the job


An instructor standing in front of a table of students points to a wallboard



A Well-Trained Crew

In addition to making sure he keeps up with the research, it is important for Howard to hold classes so our employees understand the engineering behind retrofitting.  Seismic retrofits often have unexpected challenges and training in engineering is vital.

Only a unique individual will be intelligent enough to grasp the engineering principles, to say nothing of being OK with crawling under houses all day.  In light of this seismic retrofit technicians  must be trained well and paid well.

We are innovators

Bay Area Retrofit developed the Flush Cut Method, which is based on the latest science and testing.

Bay Area Retrofit is the only seismic retrofit contractor in the country that uses Mudsill Plates. This hardware increases bolt strength.

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
San Francisco El Sobrante San Mateo
Union City Hercules South San Francisco
Kensington Woodside


PBS  interviewed him on National and local TV.

The Association of Bay Area Governments chose him to teach a class in seismic retrofitting.

The City of San Leandro asked Howard to help teach their retrofit workshop.  Please come!