By David Jacobson, Temblor
For the first time in a year, the Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program is offering grants of up to $3,000 for Californians to strengthen their home’s foundation to lessen the potential for earthquake damage. This opportunity, which is open until February 23, is aimed at residential homeowners in both Northern and Southern California. Now in its fifth year, the Brace + Bolt program hopes to help fund at least 2,000 retrofits using $6 million in funding.
Jointly funded by the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and California’s general fund, the EBB program is directed towards people living in older homes in areas that face significant earthquake hazards. In California, a typical retrofit costs between $3,000 and $7,000. Therefore, a $3,000 grant would provide significant economic relief to those eligible and interested. This range in cost is due to a home’s location and size, contractor fees, and the materials and time needed to complete the retrofit.
In order to qualify for this grant, several criteria must be met. First, you must live in an eligible zip code (In total, the are 185). This is an increase of 40 compared to last year. Additionally, cities such as Napa, San Fernando, San Gabriel, and Glendale are now included in the program.
If you live in one of the qualifying zip codes, your house must also be made of wood, built on flat or nearly flat ground, have a raised foundation, and have a 4-foot (or less) cripple wall beneath the first floor. If these criteria are met, you can register, and, if selected, you will be notified. If you would like to register, click here.
The video above, from the Earthquake Brace + Bolt program shows how a typical retrofit is done.
Under the EBB program, funding is allocated towards retrofits which bolt a house to its foundation, and strengthen cripple walls. These measures are aimed at preventing a home from sliding or toppling off its foundation during an earthquake. In the M=6.0 Napa earthquake in 2014, several houses fell off their foundations, leading to estimates of up to $300,000 to repair. The photo below shows two houses, one with and one without retrofitting after the Napa earthquake. If you would like to know more about seismic retrofitting, click here.
In addition to providing support in an earthquake, retrofitting your home also qualifies you for up to a 20% discount on earthquake insurance. If you are interested in earthquake insurance, click here. Therefore, retrofitting can help provide multiple levels of security from earthquake damage.
California Earthquake Authority (CEA)
Earthquake Brace + Bolt Program