Soft Story Program - Regulations for potentially hazardous buildings containing soft, weak or open front stories ("SWOF")
The City of Berkeley is considering an ordinance which will require property owners of soft, weak or open front (“SWOF”) buildings with five or more dwelling units to retrofit their buildings within the next five years. Owners would have three years to apply for a building permit and two years to complete the work after submitting their permit application. The law would only apply to buildings constructed prior to 1978 and would take effect January 1, 2014.
Since 2005, SWOF building owners have been required to submit an engineering evaluation report identifying their building’s weaknesses and ways to remedy those weaknesses, to post an earthquake warning sign and notify their tenants of the building’s potentially hazardous condition.
A soft, weak or open front (“SWOF”) building is a wood-frame building with more than one story that typically has parking, a commercial storefront or other similar open floor spaces on the ground floor. This leads to a relatively soft or weak lateral load resisting system in the lower story and makes the building potentially hazardous in the event of an earthquake.
*If you believe a property should be added to the inventory of soft, weak or open front buildings, please let us know by filling out this form: REQUEST FOR SERVICE-Generic. Please bear in mind, the ordinance applies only to wood frame buildings with 5 or more dwelling units, constructed prior to 1978. If you have photos of the building, you can email those to email@example.com
Phase I of the Soft Story Program (Adopted)
- Slideshow presentations from February 24, 2005 Community Workshop - "A Hard Look at Soft Stories"
City Council Reports
For more information about the Soft Story program, contact the Building and Safety Division, at (510) 981-7451, or firstname.lastname@example.org