EBB registration is now CLOSED.
Read More

Brace + Bolt Program registration will be opening October 27, 2021!
Please Sign Up for notifications below.
Alt text for image

Do-it-Yourself Tips

A typical retrofit completed by a licensed contractor may cost between $3,000 and $7,000 depending on the location and size of the house, contractor fees, and the amount of materials and work involved. ​If the homeowner is an experienced do-it-yourselfer, a retrofit can cost less than $3,000.

Owner-Builder Responsibilities

DIYContentImage-416x277.jpg

If you are accepted into the EBB program and choose to do the work yourself, you will identify yourself as an "owner-builder." As an owner-builder, you will be the general contractor for your project and assume responsibility for the overall job, including:

  • Pulling building permits
  • State and federal taxes
  • Workers' compensation insurance and other legal liabilities
  • Completing the retrofit in accordance with EBB Program Rules
  • Passing final inspection

The Contractors State License Board provides a helpful Checklist for Owner-Builders (PDF).

Completing the Retrofit

You will be installing bolts into the foundation, and if one exists, installing plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) bracing along the stud wall (cripple wall) of your crawl space.

The EBB program adheres to the California Existing Building Code, Chapter A3. Chapter A3 is a statewide building code that sets prescriptive standards for seismic retrofits of existing residential buildings. Chapter A3 allows:

  • A building department to approve the retrofit for a house with a 4-foot or shorter cripple wall, without requiring plans prepared by a licensed design professional (architect or engineer).
  • Retrofits for houses with cripple walls that exceed four feet, but not taller than seven feet, with plans prepared by a licensed design professional.
  • A prescriptive plan for a retrofit of houses that sit directly on their foundation (a "bolt-only" retrofit).
  • A prescriptive plan for a retrofit of houses that have a short, wood-framed wall (cripple wall) in the crawl space under the first floor, that needs to be strengthened to help prevent the house from sliding or toppling off of its foundation during an earthquake. Strengthening involves adding anchor bolts and plywood bracing in the crawl space (a "brace and bolt" retrofit).

Interested in learning more? DIYers are encouraged to view the FEMA Seismic Retrofit education videos that all licensed contractors complete before they can be added to our Contractor Directory, and that detail the steps for installation of retrofit components.

EBB also provides the following resources to help owner-builders understand allowable expenses and track owner-builder receipts:

EBB registration is now CLOSED.
Read More

See if Your Home Qualifies for an EBB Retrofit