Soft Story Retrofit Design and Planning

If you live in California, you are without a doubt aware of the dangers of earthquakes. Retrofitting buildings to be earthquake-safe requires specialized training and dedicated professional builders. But many buildings in California have a soft story. This means their ground floor has wide spans of windows and doors instead of rigid walls. These soft stories are liable to collapse in a forceful earthquake, buckling under the weight of the stories above. Thankfully, we can fix these deficiencies with a soft story retrofit.

If you’re looking for reliable solutions to enhance the safety and stability of your structure, you’ve come to the right place. Our expertise includes a wide range of services, and retrofits are one of our areas of specialization. As a trusted soft story retrofitting design firm in Southern California, we can help make your building safe and secure from earthquakes, giving you peace of mind and enhancing the value of your property for years to come.

Why Do I Need a Soft Story Retrofit?

In short, it is required to retrofit buildings to be earthquake-safe. Failure to comply means that the building will be declared unsafe to live in. This is for a good reason, as the west coast of the United States is liable to receive forceful earthquakes. Nobody can predict when the next “big one” will occur. However, researchers speculate that a forceful earthquake could destroy more than 100,000 homes in California.

For this reason, every building in California that has a soft first story must be retrofitted. This limits the potential destruction from seismic events, keeping their occupants safe. However, these legal changes are quite recent, and many older properties still have soft stories, and they remain at risk from earthquakes. Some municipalities offer stipends to owners to offset the cost of retrofitting, so there’s no reason to delay earthquake-proofing.

Soft Story Retrofit
Soft Story Retrofit

What Is a Soft Story Retrofit?

A soft story retrofit involves reinforcing the structural integrity of any story of a building that has less than a certain percentage of rigid, strong walls. In a residential property, this is usually required on the first story, whose walls are usually weakened by garage doors and large windows. Strengthening these soft walls is a proactive measure to prevent potential damage during earthquakes, ensuring the safety of occupants. Parking lots in apartment buildings are especially likely to need retrofitting.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to retrofitting, and each building has different needs. It might be as simple as securing windows and air-conditioning units, or it might involve intensive structural changes. Only an expert can determine what’s needed to make a building safe, and you must consult an expert rather than attempt to determine for yourself if your building is safe.

Why Choose Us for a Soft Story Retrofit?

At Complete Package Drafting, we take pride in our extensive experience in providing design services. Our skilled team is dedicated to delivering tailor-made solutions for your building’s specific requirements. When it comes to this process, we understand the intricate details involved in strengthening your building while maintaining its aesthetic. By choosing us, you’re selecting a partner who values safety without sacrificing appearance.

We’re cost-effective

Nightmares of ballooning costs afflict every owner who undertakes a construction project, and retrofits are no exception. That’s why we always keep a very close watch on every project, reassuring our customers that they won’t incur any unnecessary costs.

We’re fast

Time is money, and a delayed project can mean additional expense. But our engineers and designers take pride in delivering work on time.

You can even keep your parking space:

Retrofitting is most often needed for garages and other parking structures, but a lot of people need to keep their parking space. Tell us what you need, and we’ll create a garage retrofit plan that will allow you to keep your needed parking spot.

A soft story retrofit may not be as far-reaching a change as a custom home design, but we still give it the full breadth of our capabilities. Tell us what you need, and we will work closely with you to ensure that every detail aligns with your goals.

Note that for our soft story retofit projects, we sometimes employ the services of engineers who are independent of Complete Package Drafting. But everyone we work with meets our standards in delivering quality work.


Benefits of Soft Story Retrofitting

Investing in a retrofit offers a multitude of benefits that extend beyond just structural reinforcement. Here are some advantages

Turn a Parking Spot into an ADU

Parking spots, with their wide-open spaces and garage doors, are the structures most often in need of retrofitting. Parking spots are also great for transforming into ADUs. So there comes a choice: do you reinforce the parking spots with expensive steel construction, or do you convert the parking area into a new living space, thus adding a new dwelling and a new source of income?

Most owners find this to be an easy choice to make and choose to convert a parking space into an ADU. The walls of the ADU will eliminate the soft story problem, and your old parking space or garage can be someone’s new home.

Complete Package Drafting is also your go-to ADU contractor. Building another unit on your property is a fantastic way to enhance value and rental income, and converting a parking space is a great way to get a new unit.

Soft Story Retrofit

Seamless Integration of Design and Safety

What sets us apart is our commitment to seamlessly integrate design and safety. Our services encompass not only the technical aspects of retrofitting and construction but also the aesthetic considerations that make your building visually appealing. We believe that functionality and beauty can coexist, and our designs reflect this philosophy.

Transitioning to a Safer Future

Retrofitting is a pivotal step toward ensuring the safety and longevity of your building. When your property is made earthquake-safe, its value will increase substantially, you’ll enjoy peace of mind by complying with the latest safety standards, and your tenants will be safe even if the “big one” comes to California.

By choosing Complete Package Drafting, you’ll have a team of experts dedicated to delivering services that exceed your expectations. As a renowned contractor throughout Southern California, we bring innovation, quality, and integrity to every project. But we are more than just contractors: we are your partners in upgrading and securing your building, and we’ll be with you all the way until you’re satisfied.

Contact us today to discuss getting a soft story retrofit. Let’s embark on a journey to create a safer and more resilient future for your property.

Soft Story Retrofit
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