Earthquake Brace & Bolt Incentive Program
Homeowners living in Los Altos and Los Gatos can take advantage of an Earthquake Brace & Bolt Incentive Program (EBB) offered by the California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP). This program pays eligible homeowners of record up to $3,000 toward retrofitting their residence, providing added protection against damage caused by an earthquake. But act fast-applications are being accepted now through March 19, 2020.
The EBB program specifically funds two retrofit applications in residential crawlspaces:
- Addition of anchor bolts in sill plates designed to better solidify the association between the home’s concrete foundation and its wood framing
- Strengthening the cripple walls by bracing them with plywood to create shear walls
- Strapping and bracing weather heaters
These two applications fortify a home by better attaching the walls to the foundation while also strengthening the home’s walls. This considerably minimizes the possibility of it sliding off its foundation or collapsing during a temblor.
California’s residential earthquake guidelines are much more stringent than they were forty years ago when the homes targeted by this incentive program were constructed. Many residences used bolts that were only two inches long and had small washers and nuts. Today, code requires bolts that are at least four inches long and have washers and nuts that are 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter.
To take advantage of this program, homeowners must meet specific guidelines.
- Constructed with a wood frame
- Built prior to 1980
- Located on level ground or a minimal slope
- Raised foundation
- Have a 4 foot or less cripple wall under the first floor or a 4 to 7-foot engineered cripple wall
A typical residential earthquake retrofit costs anywhere between $3,000 and $7,000. This depends upon a variety of factors including:
- Square footage
- Contractor fees
- Necessary time and materials
Experienced DIYers can complete a retrofit for $3,000 or less but they also must comply with strict requirements.
The retrofit must adhere to the California Building Code Chapter A3, which establishes rigid seismic standards for existing residential buildings. If homeowners hire a contractor, that person must hold a valid license type A or B. The CRMP website provides homeowners with a directory of contractors that have completed their FEMA training. Before hiring any contractor, verify their license with the state license board.
The EBB program is open through March 19, 2020 and is only available in certain zip codes. Los Altos and Los Gatos are two Silicon Valley cities in which homeowners can take advantage of this opportunity to obtain retrofit financial assistance.
The EB program is offered by the California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP), formed in 2011 in partnership between the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and the California State Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. The mission of the CRMP is to provide monetary retrofit assistance to homeowners. The EBB program is the inaugural incentive program of the CRMP.
Earthquakes are a reality in California. The Earthquake Brace & Bolt Incentive Program can help Los Altos and Los Gatos homeowners offset the costs involved in making their home safer and more secure during the next shaker. If your home qualifies, we encourage you to apply.