30% Seismic Retrofit Tax Incentive and Brace + Bolt Expansion will Protect Property, Save Lives, and Create Jobs
(Sacramento, CA) Today, Assembly Bill 428 and 1440 passed the Assembly and will head to the State Senate. Assembly Bill 428 is historic legislation which would provide a five-year 30% state seismic tax credit to property owners for safety improvements to their “at-risk” or vulnerable buildings. Assembly Bill 1440 expands seismic retrofit grant program. The Brace + Bolt program provides a $3,000 subsidy to qualified single family, and multi-residential (4 units or less) property owners for basic seismic work.
“We need to get serious about earthquake preparedness now. My earthquake resilience package protects property, saves lives, and creates jobs,” stated Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian. “I strongly encourage the State Senate and the Governor to make earthquake preparedness a priority; before it’s too late.”
AB 428 provides a powerful financial incentive for property owners to make the seismic upgrades within the next five years at a substantially reduced cost.
The key components of Assembly Bill 428 are:
- Will establish a 5 year 30% tax credit for qualified costs associated with Seismic Retrofit for qualified owners of an “at-risk property.” The tax credit is awarded upon completion of Seismic Retrofit.
- Defines an “at-risk property” as a building that is deemed hazardous and in danger of collapse in the event of a major earthquake and is certified as so by the appropriate local jurisdiction with authority for building code enforcement, including but not limited to, soft story buildings, non-ductile concrete residential buildings, and pre-1980 concrete residential buildings.
- Provides that a municipality’s local agency with jurisdiction for building code and safety enforcement certify an “at-risk building” located within their area and authorizes construction eligible under credit.
- Provides examples of Seismic Retrofit Construction which qualify under the credit to mitigate seismic damage
- Sets a sunset date of December 1, 2021.
Recent findings by UC Berkley researchers identify 1,500 concrete buildings that are seismically vulnerable in just the Los Angeles area. The researchers state that in the event of a huge earthquake 75 are likely to collapse.
Assembly Bill 1440 aims to expand on Brace + Bolt a program to cover tens of thousands of California homeowners.
The Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program was created by the California Residential Mitigation Program, which is a joint power authority between the California Earthquake Authority and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services.
The program was established to assist homeowners in decreasing the potential for damage to their houses during an earthquake. A residential seismic retrofit strengthens an existing house, making it more resistant to earthquake activity such as ground shaking and soil failure, by bolting the house to its foundation and adding bracing around the perimeter of the crawl space.
The mitigation program provides homeowners up to $3,000 to strengthen their foundation. A typical retrofit may cost between $2,000 and $10,000 depending upon the location, the size of the house, and the amount of work involved. Houses that meet the state building code retrofit criteria typically were:
- Constructed before 1979;
- Built on a level or low slope site;
- Constructed with a four-foot (or less) cripple wall under the first floor;
- And have a raised foundation.