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  • Zebra Construction, Inc

Understanding the Benefits of Soft Story Retrofitting

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

Soft story retrofitting adds lateral support and enhances the safety of residential structures built before 1978. The process requires minimal alteration to the exterior of the building, so experts can perform it without disturbing life's daily routine. Here are several benefits of soft story retrofitting:

1. Increases Structural Safety

Soft story retrofitting adds vital elements to the existing structure, including steel posts, beams, and cross-beams with grade beams and drag systems. This can significantly reduce a building's risk of collapse in an earthquake as new elements absorb the earthquakes energy.

2. Maintains Property Value

Retrofitting is an effective way to protect your investment of your home or business. By adding lateral supporting elements, you improve its resiliency so it will better withstand the impact of an earthquake. Retrofitting does raise the value of your property but not your property taxes!

3. Reduces Insurance Cost

Soft story retrofitting can reduce earthquake insurance premiums and certain programs allow for a rebate for residential properties through and submitting a form to the California Earthquake Authority through your insurance agent.

4. Improves Life Safety & Reduces Liability

Soft story retrofitting will keep building standing long enough for tenants to escape building safely. You can be held liable for injury or death if your building meets requirements for needing retrofitting and it is not completed and a collapse occurs.

5. Improve Resiliency of a Community

Another benefit of soft story retrofitting is that it can help improve the resiliency of a community. A community that has not undergone retrofitting is more likely to experience damage during an earthquake. This damage can be expensive to repair and may even make the community uninhabitable. Retrofitting a community helps make it more resistant to damage during an earthquake. Having buildings withstand earthquakes helps a city bounce back quicker after an earthquake.


Soft story retrofitting is a cost-effective method for enhancing the safety of your residential or commercial property. You can retrofit your building without disrupting daily life, and it's ideal for those who want to maintain their building's value and reduce their liability risk.

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