Strengthen Your House
Registration for the 2020 EBB Program is now closed
Would you like to receive up to $3,000 toward an earthquake retrofit of your house? The Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program provides homeowners up to $3,000 to strengthen their home and lessen the potential for earthquake damage.
Many homeowners will decide to hire a contractor to do the retrofit work instead of doing it themselves. California licensed general contractors must have a license type A or B. A typical retrofit 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.
The EBB program relies on adherence to the California 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:
- the building department to approve the retrofit for a house with a 4-foot or shorter cripple wall, without requiring plans prepared by a registered design professional (architect or engineer).
- retrofits for houses with cripple walls higher than 4-feet with plans prepared by a registered design professional.
- a prescriptive plan for houses that sit directly on their foundation (BOLT-ONLY RETROFIT).
Surrounding the crawl space under the first floor, many houses have a short wood framed wall ("cripple wall") 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.
More information on qualifying retrofits.
EBB is limited to funding residential retrofit expenses in the crawl space that:
- Bolt: add anchor bolts and sill plates in the crawl space to improve the connection between the wood framing of the house and its concrete foundation to help keep the house from sliding.
- Brace: strengthen the cripple walls in the crawl space with plywood will help keep the house from toppling off of the foundation during an earthquake. Strengthening cripple walls enables them to function as shear members, significantly protecting the house from collapsing.
- Strap and Brace the Water Heater: properly strap and brace the water heater to reduce the likelihood of water and fire damage, and to protect the water supply.
Houses that meet Chapter A3 specifications are typically:
- wood-framed construction built before 1980
- built on a level or low slope
- constructed with a 4-foot (or less) cripple wall under the first floor OR
- constructed with a cripple wall between 4 feet and 7 feet (requires an engineered solution)
- have a raised foundation
Enter your ZIP Code to see if your house is in an EBB area.
For a complete list of 2020 EBB ZIP Codes click here
applyING for the EBB program
To be eligible to participate in EBB, Homeowners must:
- Be the owner of record of a house located in a designated ZIP Code
- Use the house as their primary residence at the time they apply for EBB and when the retrofit is complete
- Create an online account and complete registration as a homeowner (As an accommodation to individuals that may have some need to have a third-party representative complete the EBB Program Application, a Registration Authorization Form is provided for your use.)
- Provide a completed and signed IRS W-9 form, if requested by EBB.
- Register only once per house
- Ensure your house qualifies and you are an eligible applicant by answering all qualification questions and reviewing the Program Rules or the CRMP-funded Program Rules.
Houses that may qualify for EBB:
- Are located in a ZIP Code listed on the EBB website;
- Meet CEBC Chapter A3 specifications;
- Are built before 1980 and sit on a level ground or a low-slope;
- Are a detached residential building composed of one to four dwelling units with a continuous raised perimeter foundation;
- Must not have a completed Chapter A3 brace and bolt retrofit previous to being accepted into the EBB program;
- Have not previously received any incentive payment from EBB, the California Earthquake Authority Brace + Bolt program, or any other earthquake retrofit incentive grant program;
selection and notification process
Once registration closes, an electronic system will randomly select homeowners. Each application must be reviewed and approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). During this selection and approval process, EBB will communicate with applicants by email and will be available to answer questions.
All homeowners who successfully registered for the EBB program will be notified by email whether they have been selected to become a Participating Homeowner or whether they have been placed on the wait list. Throughout the program, EBB will include people from the wait list if spaces become available. Being placed on the wait list, however, does not guarantee eligibility for future EBB incentive payments.
FOR THE FEMA-FUNDED PROGRAM:
Once all of the required pre-retrofit documents and photos are uploaded and approved by EBB, they will be forwarded to FEMA for review. After receiving approval from FEMA (most likely 2-6 weeks after submission), EBB will inform the Participating Homeowner that the retrofit work may begin and that they have six (6) months from that day to complete their retrofit.