Mandatory Soft Story Retrofit Program

The City of Oakland’s Soft Story Retrofit Program works to save lives by strengthening buildings with large ground-floor openings that are particularly prone to collapse during an earthquake. Effective January 22, 2019, municipal ordinance No. 13516 now requires residential property owners to strengthen these vulnerable buildings with seismic retrofits. This page provides information and resources on the ordinance, the schedule for compliance, and the process for completing the mandatory retrofit.

About

Given Oakland's location along the Hayward Fault, seismic strengthening of buildings—known as seismic retrofitting—can not only save lives, but also housing stock, better enabling Oakland to withstand the short- and long-term effects of a major disaster.

A soft-story building is a structure constructed before 1991 which has a large ground-floor openings (parking garage, store-front windows) with slender columns supporting the upper stories. Soft-story buildings are particularly likely to lean or collapse in an earthquake.

A 2009 ordinance (12966 CMS) mandated that owners of certain residential buildings provide simple and low-cost information to the City about their buildings' ground-floor structural supports (dimensions, materials, photographs, floor plan). The 2009 ordinance did not require any type of structural retrofit.

Effective January 22, 2019, City Council adopted ordinance No. 13516 that requires property owners to seismically strengthen these vulnerable buildings. Property owners of certain residential buildings identified has having a potential "soft-story" will be required to seismically retrofit their buildings.

Below is a timeline of compliance for soft story building retrofits.

Compliance Deadlines

Assigned Compliance Tier

STEP 1. Document that building is not a subject building

STEP 2. Document that building is eligible for a later compliance tier

STEP 3. Perform mandatory evaluation and submit initial affidavit of compliance

STEP 4. Obtain retrofit permit or submit Target Story evaluation report

STEP 5.

Perform retrofit work and obtain approval on final inspection; submit final affidavit of compliance

Non-subject building

2/21/2020

NA

NA

NA

NA

Tier 1-LB or

Tier 1-NR

2/21/2020

2/21/2020

2/21/2021

2/21/2022

2/21/2023

Tier 2

2/21/2020

2/21/2020

2/21/2022

2/21/2023

2/21/2024

Tier 3

2/21/2020

NA

2/21/2023

2/21/2024

2/21/2025

Table from OMC13516, Section 15.27.070



Contact Us

Map location for Mandatory Soft Story Retrofit Program, located at 250 Frank H Ogawa Plaza 2nd Floor in Oakland, CA 94612
250 Frank H Ogawa Plaza 2nd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

Phone Numbers

Email Address

MandatorySoftStoryRetrofit@oaklandca.gov