Did you know
California Earthquake Authority
Earthquake Retrofit Program
Earlier this year, a grant program got underway for homeowners who want to earthquake retrofit their houses. Earthquake Brace + Bolt, funded by money from the state and the California Earthquake Authority, will give homeowners up to $3,000 to help finance retrofit work.
When the next Big One hits, many old houses in the state will be vulnerable to collapse. After the South Napa earthquake in August 2014, said California Earthquake Authority CEO Glenn Pomeroy, you could see the difference between homes that had been retrofitted and those that hadn't.
"You'd see, in one case, two homes side by side, built about the same period of time, similar construction. And one had been retrofitted, and it stood tall and strong; the other had not been retrofitted, and it toppled off its foundation," said Pomeroy in an interview with KQED's Joshua Johnson.
To help prepare residents, Gov. Jerry Brown approved $3 million in funding last year to expand the retrofit grant program and to cut the cost of earthquake insurance. For retrofitted homes, insurance through the California Earthquake Authority can drop by 20 percent. Retrofit grants will be awarded to 1,600 homes this year, selected through an application and lottery system.
First you must qualify and apply, and then an approved contractor can begin the retrofit work. Registration for the program is open until Feb. 20. You can find the application form and more information on the Earthquake Brace + Bolt website, but we've broken down some of the key questions below.
Grantees must own and live in the home being retrofitted. And the house has to meet the structural requirements of the program. (The houses primarily accepted for funding are those that are most at risk for collapse and those that involve simple retrofitting -- i.e., houses built pre-1979, with a heavy house atop a flimsy frame and not attached to the foundation, with a cripple wall space under the first floor.)
Also, only certain ZIP codes are eligible for grant funding. Those are:
You have to register either online or through a paper application by Feb. 20. You will then find out if you've been accepted, waitlisted or rejected. If you're accepted, you have eight weeks to pick a contractor and get your building permit.
After the building permit is submitted to the EB+B program, then work can begin.
There are a number of rules that govern the contractor and refitting process, but the primary ones to know are:
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Sources: KQED, SF Gate