EARTHQUAKE BRACE & BOLT
Seismic Strengthening and Retrofit Services
Earthquake retrofitting is performed to keep your home from being displaced from its foundation. In California, the need for seismic strengthening is substantial and valid. According to a New York Times article published in December 2011, one-third to two-thirds of earthquake retrofits in the San Francisco Bay Area are installed incorrectly. One’s home may still be vulnerable to serious earthquake damage if a contractor without formal education and training in calculating seismic forces, alternate load path, diaphragm action and other critical functionality is engaged to attempt retrofit services.
Why Is Tracery Professional Builders, Inc. Highly Qualified to Handle Seismic Strengthening?
Mark Macdonald, our founder and president, has degrees in both Structural Engineering and Civil Engineering and has been certified as a FEMA-Trained Brace and Bolt Contractor. As stated on earthquakesafety.com there is “no such thing as a standard house or a standard earthquake retrofit.” It is essential to hire a contractor with experience and training, one who can do the calculations correctly, in order to appropriately reduce the risk of earthquake damage.
Click on the links below for more information about the importance of seismic strengthening:
Tracery EBB Project Process
Want to get started? Here’s an outline of the basic steps:
Tracery will send an Estimate, which includes a scope of work and explanatory photographs of our proposal, for your review and acceptance.
03 ON-SITE REVIEW
Next is an on-site appointment for photos and measurements: front and rear of house, left/right sides, crawl space opening, water heater, foundation.
04 CONTRACT & DEPOSIT
Is everything a go? Once your contract is signed, a deposit will be required to secure your spot on our schedule. EBB payments do not come directly to Tracery. Client is responsible for all charges and fees.
05 PERMITS & DOCUMENTATION
We will obtain the necessary permits and pay the fees. All EBB work must be permitted. All required documentation will be uploaded to the EBB site.
06 THE WORK
Your project will typically take 1-2 days to complete. Required completion documentation will be submitted and your inspection will be scheduled.
Tracery will handle all the details pertaining to the inspection of your project. Inspections are performed by an authorized Earthquake Brace & Bolt certified inspector.
08 PROJECT COMPLETION
Final close-out documentation will be submitted to EBB. Once your project completion invoice has been paid, you will be eligible to apply for the EBB incentive refund.
California Earthquake Brace Bolt Program Resources
EBB SEISMIC RETROFIT VIDEO
Watch a demonstration of how an EBB seismic retrofit helps homeowners lessen the potential for damage during an earthquake.
Video Credit: Courtesy of
LEARN ABOUT THE VALUE OF AN EBB RETROFIT
Video Credit: Courtesy of
If your house was built before 1980, it may be more vulnerable to earthquake damage. Janiele Maffei, Executive Director of the California Residential Mitigation Program, shows you how easy and important it is to strengthen your house to help minimize earthquake damage. Get prepared and worry less. Learn more at https://www.StrengthenMyHouse.com
Video Credit: Courtesy of
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to complete the work?
Typically, between 1-2 working days.
How many EBB Projects does Tracery do annually?
We estimate that we complete between 15-20 projects each year. This number varies based on inquiries and EBB approvals.
Does my $3,000 EBB refund get paid to Tracery?
No. Once your project is completed and paid for, all EBB program refunds are paid directly to you, the homeowner.
Approximately how much does the permit cost?
Permit costs vary from city to city. To get an appropriate estimate, we advise you call your city and speak to a permit technician.
Are permit fees included in my proposal?
Permit fees are excluded from the proposal and the homeowner is charged face value with no mark-ups.
Can my family stay at home while the work is performed?
Yes. We kindly ask family members to avoid or stay cautious of the surrounding area near the crawl space. There will be miscellaneous items that may be hazardous such as power tools, electrical cords, foundation materials, etc. We do our best to maintain cleanliness and organization on all our job sites, but a high sense of awareness is very important. If no one will be home, we advise installing a lock box with a spare key.
Do I need to rent a portable toilet?
If a bathroom is available on site for use during the duration of the work, renting a temporary toilet would not be necessary.
T-Strap and L-Strap (illustrated on SK-C and SK-D) are optional for about $1000?
This option is not included with the amount proposed in the estimate. This type of extra bracing is not required by the EBB program. We offer this to you as an option to add extra strengthening to the posts in your foundation.
Since we are accepted by FEMA EBB, will you provide documentation including taking pictures?
Yes. Tracery will take care of all documentation required by the program including: before and after pictures, obtaining the permit, scheduling inspections and final invoicing.
How much earth removal is required for access to the proposed structure?
Very minimal earth removal will be required for access and distribution of the proposed structural hardware located under the floor.
What will you have to do to our foundation to prep it for EBB?
We will need to scrape foam insulation off of foundation & mudsill for clean application of plywood bracing and UFRP plates.
What are my options for EBB?
There are two options when it comes to planning your EBB. Included in your project are SK-A, SK-B, and SK-E (see below), which are required by the EBB program. If you would like to add extra strengthening, we offer T and L strap ties seen in SK-C and SK-D. This option can be added for about $1000.
"...Professional, courteous, considerate..."
We highly recommend Tracery Professional Builders. We hired them some months ago to undertake an earthquake retrofit on our home, and we are very pleased with every aspect of their work. The structural engineer, Mark Macdonald, personally crawled around under our house to evaluate the work that needed to be done, carefully photographed all important features of the house foundation and subfloor, patiently and completely answered my many questions regarding the nature of “earthquake retrofit work” and all the hardware involved, and fully explained all aspects and particulars of the work he
recommended being done to our house. Tracery then did an outstanding job in wading through the involved permit process with the city, state and FEMA, showing admirable persistence in the face of the many bureaucracy-induced slowdowns exacerbated by the ongoing viral pandemic. Finally, with all permits obtained, their crew came to our home and actually completed all the work in one day. They were professional, courteous, considerate of our home and floors and furnishings, mindful to make sure our dog and cat did not escape while they worked, and carefully photo-documented all their work. I doubt you could find a more competent, professional or considerate company. -S. White, EBB Client 92020)
"...passionate about quality and precision."
Tracery Builders did a superb job on our EBB project. From initial contact to post construction follow-through they were consistently organized, professional, responsive, and highly competent. The owner is a structural engineer and passionate about quality and precision. This really shows in the caliber of work they perform. Tracery also receives high marks from us for integrity, they did what they said they would, quoted accurately and provided a great service with no surprises or issues. I am very impressed with this organization and will certainly be a return customer in the future.
- V. Waagen, EBB client (2020)
HOUZZ Review (December 2020) Tracery was prompt, professional, responsive and informed us about our project every step of the way. They were diligent about obtaining permits, uploading documents, arranging for inspections and looking after other administrative details. We would definitely work with them again and highly recommend them! -Prashant A.
HOUZZ Review (December 2020) I hired Tracery Professional Builders, Inc to do the seismic retrofit work on the foundation of my house, according to the specifications of the Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program. I had three quotes, but picked Tracery because Mark Macdonald, the president of Tracery was the only structural engineer. I was impressed by his seismic knowledge and how well he explained what needed to be done to retrofit my foundation, and how the EBB program worked. Mark and Miles, the project manager took care of applying for the permit from my city, took and uploaded the required pictures and documents to EBB. They were professional, knowledgeable, courteous, organized and responded quickly to phone calls and emails. The crew were also very professional, competent, considerate and punctual. They showed up on time and finished the project as scheduled. They also cleaned up very well afterwards. When the building inspector asked for more work not required by EBB, Mark went beyond the call of duty. He did the extra work at no additional charge. I am very pleased with Tracery and I highly recommend them for doing the EBB foundation retrofit work, or any other construction projects. - Frances L.