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EQ IQ (Continued)

Additional steps you can take to secure you home.  These steps are paraphrasing and adding to another New Yorker article by Kathryn Shultz “How to Stay Safe When the Big One Comes” as it relates to SF Bay Area.  See the previous post that talks about earthquake facts and crawl space strengthening and foundation bolting […]


If haven’t read this month’s New Yorker article about the Cascade fault that spans from Vancouver down to Northern California (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one), you definitely should.  It’s a fascinating read and has a lot of useful information, especially in the light of a little jolt that we had this morning.  Here are some take aways from the […]

Napa wake up call!

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimated in 2007 that there is a 63% probability of at least one magnitude 6.7 or greater quake, capable of causing widespread damage, striking the San Francisco Bay region before 2030. There is a 67% probability of a similarly sized earthquake striking the Southern California region within the same period. […]

Video of Simulated Soft-Story Building Collapse due to Earthquake

In the following video clip, engineers test a soft-story building with a 6.7 magnitude simulated earthquake to determine the effects of a large earthquake on buildings with a soft-story condition. The results are quite dramatic, as the bottom floor of the building collapses, and the building topples sideways. Click on the link below to watch […]

D/B or not D/B, that is the question

The term “soft story” building describes a building with a level or story that is significantly more flexible than stories above it, such as an open parking area or a commercial space, which can be hazardous in the event of an earthquake.  The Bay Area has thousands of these building.  Damage to soft story buildings […]

Why Retrofit?

Although current soft-story ordinances do not require a mandatory retrofit of your building, you must retrofit your building to have it removed from the soft-story inventory list.  To encourage owners to complete voluntary retrofits, the City of Alameda will waive all plan review and inspection fees for soft-story retrofit projects if they are submitted within […]

Alameda Soft-Story Ordinance Requirements

If you believe that your building is a soft-story building, it may be a good idea to have a licensed engineer take a look at your building before you receive a notification from the city, as the time line for appeals is tight, and requires engineering analysis. Your engineer should be able to tell you […]

The City of Alameda Soft-Story Ordinance

Alameda’s soft-story ordinance and how to tell if your building may be soft-story.

Soft-Story Buildings: An Overview

What is a soft-story building? The term “soft-story building” describes a building with a level or story that is significantly more flexible than the stories above it, which can be hazardous in the event of an earthquake. In multi-unit wood-frame buildings, weakness at the ground level stems from large openings in perimeter walls or insufficient […]