We will get hit by earthquakes, and one of those will be the “Big One”

Every century, the greater Los Angeles region experiences a substantial earthquake, and seismic experts are united in the belief that our city is long overdue for a significant seismic event!  Our large earthquake will likely originate from the San Andreas fault, located a mere 35 miles away from downtown Los Angeles, and this natural phenomenon will likely bring devastating damage to our neighborhoods and homes.  While the exact timing of the impending “Big One” remains uncertain, its potential consequences must not be ignored.

So, what is the problem with homes built in the 1970s or earlier?

The problem is that homes built in the 1970s or earlier were constructed before the implementation of modern building codes.  Such homes may lack the necessary structural reinforcements that modern codes require, for example, specific design and construction standards that offer homes a greater chance to withstand an earthquake’s seismic forces.  Moreover, such older homes often used materials and construction techniques that may not provide sufficient resistance to earthquake shaking.  For example, homes that have brittle and cracked concrete foundations, foundations made out of bricks or rocks held together with mortar, unbolted cripple walls, and unreinforced masonry, among other issues, may all see their structural integrity compromised during seismic events.

What can homeowners do?

Well, as a homeowner who is reading this blog, you have already taken a positive first step to increasing your awareness of the seismic risks to your home!  You now know that it is important for you to ensure that your home is properly maintained and updated, so that it is less susceptible to earthquake damage.  The best way to ensure that your older home remains intact during an earthquake is to have it retrofitted, which involves strengthening its structure to make it more earthquake resistant.  Soft Story Retrofitting measures include bolting the house to its foundation and adding bracing to cripple walls to prevent them from collapsing during an earthquake.

What is the EBB Grant?

Owners of older homes should be aware of the “Earthquake Brace + Bolt” (EBB) program.  Beginning in 2013, EBB, which is administered by the California Residential Mitigation Program, has provided more than 20,000 homeowners with financial support for the seismic retrofitting of their homes!  EBB will literally give eligible homeowners a free money grant of up to $3,000 for their retrofit!  Eligibility requirements are based upon where the home is located, with hundreds of ZIP codes in the greater Los Angeles area selected based on seismic risk and the prevalence of older, vulnerable homes in that area.  Additionally, homeowners who have a household income at or below $72,080 can also qualify for supplementary grants, potentially covering the entire cost of the retrofit!

Now for the great news, the EBB program will open back up for homeowner registration and application submissions beginning on January 10, 2024!  If you are the owner of an older home in Los Angeles, you can access additional information about the EBB program and check EBB Eligible ZIP codes on the EBB list for retrofitting.

How much does the earthquake brace and bolt cost?

We can say with 100% certainty that it will cost you much less to retrofit your home, than it will cost you to repair the home after it is damaged by a strong earthquake!  Having said that, Weinstein Construction’s skilled crews can typically retrofit a smaller home for under $3,000, which means that for those homeowners who receive an EBB program grant, the cost of an earthquake brace and bolt will be nothing!

Is brace and bolt worth it?

Heck yes!  The California Residential Mitigation Program estimates that as many as 1.2 million older homes in California’s seismically hazardous areas are vulnerable to earthquake damage.  When the “Big One” hits (and it will hit) homes that have not been retrofitted will be devastated.  Even if families living in unreinforced homes escape without injury, they will still be out of a place to live, fighting to obtain rental accommodations at inflated prices.  At the same time, they will be facing bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair their damaged homes, if such repairs are even possible.

Why take a chance?  Instead, take the EBB free-money grant and earthquake retrofit your older home!  Remember, on January 10, 2024, the EBB program opens back up for homeowner registration!  Don’t waste this chance to secure your home and all who live in it!

Let the professionals at Weinstein Construction help you navigate the EBB registration process!  We are approved by the EBB program and are a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized and trained contractor!  Call us today at (800) 862-6582 to schedule a free inspection of your home for this fantastic initiative that puts free government money in your pocket!  You can also learn more about the EBB grant program and Weinstein Construction.