When Los Angeles announced its new soft-story retrofit program, property owners everywhere groaned in frustration. Most of them were upset about the unnecessary cost coming out of their pockets. When Los Angeles soft story retrofit companies began doing their initial assessment, the first thing property owners wanted to know is, “how much is this going to cost me?” since seismic retrofitting was in its early stages when the program began, most companies did not have a concrete answer for this question.
Now, over 10,000 soft-story retrofits have been completed and determining the cost for your retrofit is easier than before. The final cost still depends on a variety of factors, that hasn’t changed. But providing you with an answer at the time of the first inspection can now be done with a fair amount of confidence. That doesn’t mean that complications won’t arise during the job that may affect the cost. Let’s look at the variables that determine the final cost.
What affects the cost of a soft-story retrofit?
Retrofitting a soft-story building is extremely labor-intensive. Of your final estimate, 70-75% of that goes to labor alone. The remaining 25-30% of the cost goes towards construction materials. When your seismic contractor is putting together an estimate for you, they will try their best to keep the cost to a minimum. But please bear in mind, that no matter what materials are used for the retrofit, you still need qualified workers to install and complete the retrofit.
How can I mitigate the cost?
One way to mitigate the cost is to hire a qualified engineer who specializes in soft-story retrofits. Many Los Angeles soft story retrofit companies will have a professional engineer on staff. This helps to keep costs lower as you won’t have to pay for a structural engineer outside of the fees charged by the company you choose. A professional engineer will work to minimize surprises wherever possible.
Once you have hired a retrofit company, their engineer will work with you to design the best retrofit for your property. Your engineer will create a solution with labor-reducing strategies in mind. One of these strategies may be implementing construction methods that are more affordable than moment frames. They should be opening up connection points to see what is existing and what needs to be replaced. Another labor-saving strategy is to avoid welding moment frames if possible.
Important Factors to Consider…
Getting more than one bid for any construction job is a must. But when it comes time to pick the contractor to hire, don’t focus just on the lowest price. You need to pay attention to the individual and what the company has to offer. Too many people look at construction as a commodity service and this viewpoint often leads to disappointment. The construction industry is full of competent professionals. But like any industry, there are also many companies that don’t meet current standards of competence and professionalism.
Take a look at the company’s website. Find out how many similar jobs have they completed. How long they have been in business. And what processes they have in place to execute these types of projects successfully. If you can find reviews from previous customers, take the time to read them and find out what they thought of the service provided.
Oh, and to answer the all-important question of how much does a soft-story retrofit cost, on average it cost $42,000 to $85,000.
What we offer
When it comes to Los Angeles soft story retrofit companies, RetroFitting 360 is recommended by Angie’s List as one of the top 3 companies in the area. We have been in business since 2016 and have successfully completed over 100 soft-story retrofits throughout the greater Los Angeles area. We offer a free initial consultation to get you started. Once that is complete, we will provide you with a detailed work plan that includes retrofit options for your property, an estimated cost of the work, and a timeframe for when it will be completed.
We know that the retrofitting process can be long and quite confusing. Our professional staff will work with you every step of the way. We handle the retrofit design, the application for the construction permit, filling out and filing the THP, and even contacting the city inspector at the end of the job. If you have any questions, please give us a call today.