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Eartquake Retrofitting FAQ

Annual Town Hall Meeting

Sunday February 27th, 1:00 PM at 240 Page St.


Our Annual Town Hall meeting is right around the corner!

At this meeting we will be voting on the extent of our earthquake retrofitting options, will have an impact on our budget and building construction for the whole year.


In case you missed the town hall meeting last year about it, you can watch the meeting on the left, and here are some answers to questions you may have:


What are the two building codes referenced?

  • California Building Code (CBC)
  • California Historical Building Codes (CHBC)

Why are we having to decide which level of retrofitting we want now? Can’t this wait?

We are deciding now so that we can get accurate bids from our potential General Contractors. By deciding now, our architects can finish their designs and we can start receiving bids from contractors.

What do the shear walls do?

Shear walls strengthen the openings of the building, windows, and doors.

What is a Diaphragm?

A diaphragm is a horizontal plate that stops the building from twisting and spreads the seismic load throughout the building. It would be installed between the first floor and second floor.

What do HFX High Strength Anchor Panels do?

HFX High Strength Anchor Panels brace the building, adding strength locally in the building. Especially where there are many openings, windows, doors, stairwells, and elevators, can create stability issues. The front of our building has all of these.

When will this start?

Spring of 2023, at the earliest.

What would we lose in the renovations by picking the more expensive options?

The updated kitchen and possibly A/V equipment at a minimum, however, we don’t know yet because of the rapid change in pricing of materials.

What earthquake retrofitting is mandated?

Bolting the redwood frame to the foundation, and putting in shear walls to stabilize the building from shifting.

Will the greatest option of retrofitting protect the building from major damage?

All earthquake retrofitting is designed to save lives, not buildings.  The retrofitting does stabilize the building to give more time for evacuation. Even with the highest level of retrofitting, there is no guarantee that our building will survive a major earthquake.

What are our options?

  • Option A– CHBC $110K
    Bolting frame to the foundation and doing some shear walls
  • Option B– Some CBC $160K
    Bolting frame to the foundation, Sheer walls, the sister foundations, HFX High Strength Anchor Panels, and diaphragms, and horizontal cross beam
  • Option C– First floor 100% CBC $220K
    Bolting frame to the foundation, more Sheer walls, the sister foundations, HFX High Strength Anchor Panels, and diaphragms, horizontal cross beam, and Underpinning

What have we budgeted for?

We have budgeted for Option A $110K

What does a Sister Foundation do?

A Sister Foundation  is a foundation poured next to the existing foundation and adds stability to the walls of the building.

What are the underpinnings for?

Underpinnings stop the building from tipping, or doing any lateral movements.

Does the retrofit have to be done now?

It can be done later, however, it would not be cost-effective to do so. We would have to break down the work we had done and redo it after the retrofit. So, while we have the walls open for other renovations, it is the best time to conduct his work.