Seismic retrofit recs

Hoping to find some good retrofit recs (the archived posts are a few years old at this point). We're in Albany and have a 1931 McGregor home, and just got into the EBB lottery.

I'm also curious how other folks have handled soft-story retrofits. Most companies won't even give us a quote until we get plans drawn up by a structural engineer--which in turn costs $2500. I'm hesitant to spend that much just to find out that the soft-story retrofit is astronomically expensive and thus off the table. I also had one company tell me that soft-story retrofits for single-family homes are not often performed since they're so expensive and, say, not as critical as for large apartment buildings.

Thanks in advance!

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RE: Seismic retrofit recs ()

I don't have any recommendations but can advise that there are many different types of retrofit options depending on the layout of your house and how extensive the problem is. The prices can vary greatly depending on what's required which is why the construction companies won't give you a quote without having the plans. If you hire a structural engineer you should ask them for the simplest solution possible as that can help keep the overall cost down.

RE: Seismic retrofit recs ()

We used the EBB program also, got 3 bids and chose Altamira. Working with them was fine - not sure how to evaluate what actually went on down there but I assume any of the companies on the EBB list have been vetted.  Would recommend. 

RE: Seismic retrofit recs ()

We used Dan Szumski as our engineer, and we used Quakebusters as our retrofitter. The total cost was ~24K for the retrofit part, and we used the EBB to pay for part of it. I would use both again, and although Dan is old-fashioned about engineering, he seems to have planned many of the retrofits in the area and many companies are used to working with his designs.

Our house isn't exactly a soft story, but it does have a downhill grade from front to back that required an engineer to design the retrofit as the front part of the crawl space is about 6 feet tall. Hope that information helps!