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Building and Safety Division
Building and Safety Division

Earthquake Brace + Bolt                                                                      

NEW: Registration for the year 2018 program is open from January 23 through February 23, 2018. Register online at www.earthquakebracebolt.com     Brace Bolt logo

Berkeley residents are eligible for rebates of up to $3,000 from California’s Residential Mitigation Program for making certain seismic improvements to their homes. The Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program is open to owner-occupied residential buildings containing 1-4 dwelling units.  

Interested homeowners should review the full Program Rules. Qualifying homes will be entered into a lottery for the funding and notified of their status (approved, waitlisted, or denied) by EBB. In order to qualify for the rebate, owners accepted into the EBB program must obtain a building permit from the City of Berkeley within the time period specified by the Program Rules. The seismic work performed must be in accordance with Chapter A3 of the California Existing Building Code. For most houses with cripple walls that are 4 feet or less, Plan Set A may be used (see also Detailed Inspection Guidelines); other houses will need an engineered solution that complies with Chapter A3.  

EBB participants must indicate that they are doing “seismic retrofit work in accordance with Chapter A3 for the Earthquake Brace + Bolt program” in the scope of work on their City of Berkeley building permit application. Plan sets must be submitted to the Permit Service Center in electronic format for review and permitting.

Once the City of Berkeley permit is obtained, participants must upload their permit along with pre-retrofit photos of their crawl space and outside of their house to the EBB online Homeowner Dashboard. When the permit and pre-retrofit photos are uploaded and approved by EBB, retrofit activities may begin. Additional documentation including photos of the completed work, contractor invoice, and the finalized permit will be required by EBB on completion of the retrofit. Once all documentation has been received and approved, EBB will issue a check for the cost of the retrofit (up to a maximum of $3,000) in 3-4 weeks.   

The EBB program provides incentives to homes most vulnerable to severe damage in an earthquake, typically those built before 1979 with raised foundations and unbraced “cripple walls,” the wood-framed walls which surround the crawl space. Bracing the cripple walls with plywood and using anchor bolts to improve the connection between a home’s wood framing and its foundation are seismic improvements that can help reduce potential damage to a home during an earthquake.     

The EBB program supplements other programs to subsidize or finance seismic improvements in Berkeley homes; these programs can be used in combination or separately. Berkeley residential property owners may file for a refund of a portion of their transfer tax for seismic retrofits completed within a year of property purchase. Property owners are also eligible for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. PACE allows owners to borrow money for seismic improvements with no up-front costs and payback the loans over time on their property bills. PACE financing is attached to the building, not the owner, and can be passed on to new owners when a property is sold. 

For more information about the EBB program, please email info@earthquakebracebolt.com or call (877) 232-4300.

   

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Building and Safety Division, 1947 Center St, 3rd Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: buildingandsafety@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-7440
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903
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