Both San Francisco and Oakland have city-wide seismic retrofit screening programs targeting soft-story buildings, i.e. multi-unit, wood-frame, residential buildings with a first story that lacks adequate strength or stiffness to prevent leaning or collapse in an earthquake. In San Francisco, soft-story seismic retrofits are mandatory and can be costly. Starting in 2014, San Francisco lightened this burden by allowing Owners to add accessory dwelling units (ADU’s) within existing structures like garages or basements during the retrofit process. But this program had only approved 81 units by October of 2018. While the city has promised to speed up and streamline the permitting process for ADU’s, Lejarraga Studio is happy to report that we’ve been successful not only at swiftly navigating this process, but already completing construction on one in August 2018.
Solving code issues before the permitting process saved our client time and money, and our creative design solutions increased the overall value of their investment with well-designed lighting, space efficiencies, and elegant finishes.