seismic tremorWeHo Seismic Retrofit Program

On April 17, 2017, the City Council formally adopted an Ordinance establishing a framework for the seismic retrofit of two types of existing buildings. The ordinance establishes the following provisions:

  • Mandatory Strengthening Provisions for Existing Wood-Frame Buildings with Soft, Weak, or Open-Front Walls.
  • Voluntary Strengthening Provisions for Cripple Walls and Sill Plate Anchorage in Existing Wood-Frame Buildings.

The ordinance for these two types of buildings will become effective on April 1, 2018. The final Ordinance can be found below:

In addition, provisions for existing Non-Ductile Concrete and Pre-Northridge Steel Moment Frame  Buildings were formally adopted on August 7, 2017.  This Ordinance can be found at the following link:

The Ordinance for Non-Ductile Concrete and Pre-Northridge Steel Moment Frame Buildings has an effective date of August 7, 2018. 

A significant earthquake will not only affect life safety, but also loss of shelter and significant economic loss.  The City of West Hollywood has taken a proactive approach by addressing the seismic deficiencies in our existing building stock.   These Ordinances create minimum design standards and requirements intended to increase life safety and reduce the risk of collapse of existing potentially vulnerable building types during a significant seismic event.

Previous staff reports and attachments presented to City Council and the proposed ordinance can be found here.


On May 18, 2015, the City Council directed staff to address the structural seismic safety issues of the City’s existing building stock and develop a framework for a seismic retrofit program.  After issuing a  request for proposals for a consulting firm to assist the City with a Seismic Retrofit Program, Degenkolb Engineers, a top structural engineering company specializing in seismic strengthening solutions, was selected to conduct a survey of the City’s entire existing building stock and assist with the development of a seismic retrofit plan and ordinance.

The data collected from the survey assisted with the development of a comprehensive retrofit program that addresses strengthening provisions for four different building types as listed below:

  1. Mandatory Seismic Strengthening Provisions for Existing Wood-Frame Buildings with Soft, Weak or Open Front Walls
  2. Voluntary Seismic Strengthening Provisions for Cripple Walls and Sill Plate Anchorage in Existing Wood-Frame Buildings
  3. Mandatory Seismic Strengthening Provisions for Non-Ductile Concrete Structures
  4. Mandatory Seismic Strengthening Provisions for Pre-Northridge Steel Moment Frame Buildings


Community Meetings and Events:


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a seismic retrofit?

It is the upgrade of an existing building to mitigate structural deficiencies that may potentially cause catastrophic damage to a building in the event of an earthquake. 

What are the benefits of performing a seismic upgrade?

While no building is absolutely earthquake-proof, the City is taking these precautionary measures to lessen the potential for catastrophic failure of our existing buildings. Retrofitting existing buildings will protect the safety of the people who live and work in West Hollywood, and lessen the economic impact following a major earthquake.

How is the City of West Hollywood developing the Seismic Retrofit Program?

The Seismic Program is comprised of the following phases:

  • The initial phase: includes surveying and categorizing of all buildings located in the City. 
  • The second phase: will utilize the information collected from the building survey to develop the seismic retrofit program and related ordinance to reduce the seismic risk to potentially vulnerable buildings. 
  • The third phase:  Adoption of the ordinance and implementation of the Seismic Retrofit Program.

How will I know if my building will be subject to the ordinance? 

The inventory of buildings that will be subject to the recently adopted Ordinances is currently under review and being reconciled with the specifications within the Ordinances.  Building information is expected to be made available in early 2018.

How much does a Soft Story Retrofit cost?

  • How much does it cost? 

A recent rough order of magnitude (ROM) cost study analysis conducted by the City’s Consultants indicates that a majority of soft-story retrofits are estimated to be within the range of $40,000 and $160,000. Average retrofit construction costs for Non-Ductile Concrete and Pre-Northridge Steel Moment Frame Buildlings are estimated to vary between $50 to $100 per square foot.  These estimated costs are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be used to estimate a building owner's individual retrofit costs as each building varies in size and complexity. 

  • How much will owners and tenants be required to pay?

    In June 2016, the City hired a consultant to research what other cities are doing with respect to pass through provisions.  The City is currently reviewing this information with the Consultant.  Potential pass-through options will be presented to the City Council in the near future.  Regular updates will be provided on this webpage. 


  • Earthquake Brace + Bolt - Launched in 2014 by the California Earthquake Authority and California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, EBB is helping homeowners strengthen older homes.  Homes within City of West Hollywood are eligible to participate in this program.  For additional information and eligibility requirements click here.
  • Other resources

Additional Information

Additional information will be posted to this website and social media as it becomes available. 

To stay updated with the latest information regarding West Hollywood’s Seismic Retrofit Program sign up for West Hollywood’s Seismic Retrofit Program Email List! 

For additional information about the Seismic Retrofit Program, please contact or (323) 848-6848.  For people who are deaf or hearing impaired, please call TTY (323) 848-6496