Soft-Story Buildings

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Pacific Bay Financial is dedicated toEarthquake Safety Implementation Program
helping our clients identify and address the issues with their "soft-story" buildings.
San Francisco, CA—Mayor Edwin M. Lee adopted a new ordinance, No. 66-13 signed on April 18th, 2013--which established a Mandatory Soft Story Retrofit Program. The Department of Building Inspection (DBI) is responsible for implementing these new ordinance and compliance timelines. This new ordinance was adopted to guide property owners on seismic strengthening in order to better protect highly vulnerable buildings from collapse during the next major earthquake.
The ordinance applies to wood-frame buildings of three or more stories or two stories over a basement or underfloor area that have any portion extending above grade, and containing five or more residential dwelling units where the permit to construct was applied prior to January 1, 1978, and where the building has not yet been seismically strengthened. While these types of buildings are found in every neighborhood in San Francisco, they are most commonly found in the following districts: Mission, Western Addition, Richmond, North Beach, and Marina District.

The Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPPS) reports: "There are approximately 4,400 wood-frame buildings built before May 21, 1973 in San Francisco with three or more stories and five or more residential units. All of these  buildings may have a soft story condition."


The benefits of working with Pacific Bay Financial to finance your retrofit:

  • We are reaching out to our lending partners to secure financing for this work
  • We will review your assets and existing debts to find the best source of money
  • Borrowed money for this type of work allows you to use tax-free money (consult a CPA)
  • You may be able to write off the interest expense of this money (consult a CPA)

Easy Steps to Retrofitting for the Owner of a Soft Story Building:

  • If your property is on the list, come to a seminar to learn more about what this means and how you can address it
  • Schedule an appointment for an engineer and contractor to inspect your property to determine if it is in need of retrofitting and to what extent
  • Get an estimate of the cost of performing the retrofit (the engineer you choose will provide this)
  • Have drawings and reports done by architects and engineers
  • Receive city approval for the proposed work
  • Commence retrofit work
  • Finish construction and get final inspection
  • Petition rent board for capital expenditure pass-through to tenants to recoup cost

Additional Resources:



Equal Housing Opportunity Lender

355 Gellert Blvd, Suite #230, Daly City, CA 94015
Main: 415.242.0730 / Fax: 650.550.4961

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