Best Practices


Building Occupancy Resumption Program (BORP)
The Building Occupancy Resumption Program allows building owners to pre-certify private post-earthquake inspection of their buildings by qualified engineers upon building department acceptance of a written inspection program. view web page

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Commercial Building Seismic Retrofit
The 6-story Eureka Professional Building was seismically retrofitted to attract the State of Calfornia as a tenant, and to protect the assets of its small business owners. view web page

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Government Emergency Response and Recovery Preparedness
Local governments develop emergency response and recovery plans, train their employees and refine their plans to prepare for eventual major disasters. view web page

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Health Care Seismic Retrofit
Kaiser Permanente is a health maintenance organization serving more than 6.3 million members throughout California via 28 major medical centers. This major California heath care resource has started seismic mitigation work on many of its hospitals, for example completing in 2001 a $100 million seismic rehabilitation of its San Francisco hospital. This included excavating under hospital buildings to reinforce foundations and joints, adding walls to the hospital’s exterior to function as shear walls, and strapping air dampers and ceiling light fixtures. Kaiser plans to have all of its hospitals be able to continue in service after earthquakes by the year 2013 and thus meet the functionality standard 17 years in advance of requirements set by California Senate Bill 1953. view web page

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High Tech Earthquake Preparedness
Tyco Electronics Division (formerly Raychem Corporation), a manufacturer of electronic components located in Menlo Park, California has taken and is continuing to take actions that prepare their operations for minimizing property damage and business interruption in the event of a major Bay Area earthquake. view web page

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Homeowner Seismic Retrofit Incentive Program
The Seismic Retrofit Incentive Program is a joint effort under the Departments of Planning, Housing, and Finance. It provides two economic incentives for homeowners to conduct seismic retrofits to their homes. First, a local ordinance waives permit fees paid to the city for seismic retrofits on non-strengthened residences and unreinforced masonry structures. Secondly, up to 1/3 of the city’s 1.5% property transfer tax can be applied toward seismic upgrades of the property. view web page

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Homeowner Seismic Strengthening Information Program
San Leandro provides a free brochure and set of standard plans to homeowners explaining how they can survey their home for earthquake vulnerability, and how they can strengthen their homes for earthquake shaking. Local contractors are very familiar with the standard plans, which also simplify the permit process. view web page

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Incentives for Retrofitting Vulnerable Privately-Owned Buildings
Local governments throughout Northern California have created financial incentives and removed disincentives to encourage owners to retrofit their vulnerable buildings. These incentives include: waivers or reductions of building permit fees, waivers of zoning and parking requirements, loans with easier qualifying requirements or below-market interest rates, grants to cover part of the design or construction costs using redevelopment or housing funds, and special assessment districts that generate funding sources for participants. view web page

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Inventorying Multi-family Soft-Story Buildings
“Soft-story” buildings are buildings with unusually weak stories, which can easily collapse in an earthquake. The ground floor is the most common location for a soft-story, which is usually due to tuck-under parking or large commercial spaces. Inventorying multi-unit buildings with soft-stories allows local governments to assess their exposure to collapse and housing losses after earthquakes. Jurisdictions can then target information and retrofit incentives to building owners. view web page

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School Facilities Seismic Improvement Program
The Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) has implemented an extensive facilities seismic improvement program that was initiated after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The BUSD has successfully completed strengthening of all the high to moderate risk schools and will continue the comprehensive plan to address all 13 campuses by 2009. view web page

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Seismic Retrofit Decision-making for a Large System
The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system used a risk analysis approach to develop a prudent, cost-effective retrofit program that ensures system safety and balances costs with restoration of operability after a major earthquake. view web page

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Water Supply Seismic Improvement Program
The San Francisco East Bay region water supply is subject to extremely high seismic hazards. EBMUD’s $200 million Seismic Improvement Program (SIP) is an integrated planning, engineering, and construction program that has made major progress toward significantly increasing the seismic reliability of the region’s water supply. view web page

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EERI Northern California Chapter | c/o EERI National | 499 14th Street Suite 320 | Oakland, CA 94612-1934 USA | chapterinfo@eerinc.org