Soft-Story Retrofit for Contractors

Contractors play the pivotal role in ensuring that a retrofit solution is properly installed to maintain the building's strength and integrity.

View Products
SF Ordinance and Retrofit Solutions

San Francisco

Understanding the San Fransico Ordinance and Retrofit Solutions - The Strong Frame® special moment frame: an ideal, safe and cost-effective solution

LA Ordinance and Retrofit Solutions

Los Angeles

Understanding the Los Angeles Ordinance and Retrofit Solutions - The Strong Frame® special moment frame: an ideal, safe and cost-effective solution

Follow the Five Steps of the Soft-Story Retrofit

1. Constructing Soft-Story Retrofits According to the Mandate

As contractors, you have the important role of making sure that the Designer's soft-story retrofit plans are constructed to meet the strict code and regulations of the mandate. Depending on your location, the mandates differ according to what has been approved by the city building department. Learning about each city's mandate will help you understand the role that you need to play in strengthening building resiliency.

To find out more information about your city's mandate, refer to each of their corresponding soft-story mandate informational websites.

2. Connecting with Other Soft-Story Retrofit Providers

When building and installing the soft-story retrofit products, it is crucial that contractors communicate with the soft-story retrofit designer in order to understand how to best comply with the city mandate during construction.

Cities and companies who are invested in soft-story retrofits recognize that there needs to be more information available for all parties responsible for retrofits from beginning to end. As a result, many cities and companies are hosting fairs and workshops to help educate contractors on the soft-story retrofit process and how to go about installing these products. These events bring together designers, contractors, financial institutions and other vendors to bring awareness and education regarding the soft-story mandate.

To the right are links to these retrofit fairs as well as additional resources to find professionals who undertake soft-story retrofits.


3. Identifying Soft-Story Retrofits Products in Design Plans

Designers specify soft-story retrofit products for their designs because they meet the specific code regulations and standards according to the mandate. Each soft-story retrofit is unique, as it has to take into consideration the existing building structure, cost, ease of installation and current tenant situation. As a contractor, you need to be able to identify these soft-story retrofit products and understand how they impact the design and installation.

Simpson Strong-Tie has an extensive line of soft-story retrofit products that include Strong Frame® moment frames, Strong-Wall® shearwalls and a broad line of wood connectors and anchoring systems that can help reinforce your soft-story building against collapse.

See our product page for more details about each product and how they work together to strengthen your building's resiliency.

4. Installing Soft-Story Retrofit Products

The most important aspect of a soft-story retrofit for contractors is ensuring that the products are properly installed. Simpson Strong-Tie products are designed with ease of installation in mind, as well as how the installation process will affect building owners and tenants.

This design philosophy is evident in our Strong Frame special moment frame and Strong-Wall Wood Shearwall. The Strong Frame special moment frame requires no field welding and no special tools for the all-bolt connection. No field welding also means that there is no need for bracing and no possibility of dangerous welding fumes and fires.

The Strong-Wall Wood Shearwall was redesigned with the installer in mind. The new holdown now has front, side and back access to the anchor bolt, which alleviates many of the installation challenges faced by contractors in the field.

To see how our Strong Frame special moment frame and Strong-Wall Wood Shearwall are installed, visit our video library.

5. Inspecting Soft-Story Retrofit Products

Not passing inspection means expensive fixes that cost both time and money. Properly installed products minimize down time for inspection issues, such as being red-tagged. Contractors need to make sure that they understand what Special Inspectors are looking for, especially when deadlines are tight.

The City and County of San Francisco Department of Building Inspection has issued a list of Recognized Special Inspection and Testing Agencies.

City of San Francisco Recognized Special Inspection and Testing Agencies List (pdf)