Soft Story Retrofit Program Development

A single family home with a soft story at the first floor garage.
Karl Nielsen

This guide provides information gathered from local experience and recommended practices for how to understand the problem that soft story buildings pose for jurisdictions and the region. It advises how to develop programs to reduce the earthquake risks of existing soft story buildings and to increase the resilience of the Bay Area’s housing.

While the information presented here is based on extensive earthquake engineering knowledge, this guide is intended to be used by a non-technical audience, including jurisdiction staff and elected officials, to help guide policy development, adoption and implementation of retrofit for this type of common, fragile housing.

It was created by the Association of Bay Area Governments. It was last updated in 2015 and is useful for developing seismic policy.

Download the Soft Story Program Development Guide (PDF).