, Earthquake Retrofit Contractors, brings an unmatched level of Construction, Design, and Management to the seismic retrofit Los Angeles and surrounding areas. ... click to read more

Our professional industry experience of 40+ years makes us the leading choice in seismic retrofitting. We have designed and developed hundreds of projects valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. We now offer a clear choice in retrofitting of buildings with aggressive engineering solutions, fast pace fabrication, and production level installation. Combined with all the required tenant notifications, plan-check and permit issuance, and all required observations and inspections. In short we offer a no hassle, no surprises, no worries approach to the pending seismic retrofitting  required in Soft Story retrofit Los Angeles and surrounding areas. swift solution to the mandatory wood frame, soft story, seismic retrofit program.

When the Northridge Earthquake struck on January 17, 1994 my construction company was already well established in the San Fernando Valley. I knew most of the other contractors and they knew me. We even chose to collaborate on specific projects when necessary. Almost overnight… new names and faces came into the area. We referred to them later as the “Insurance Contractors”. They followed opportunities (natural disasters) from State to State chasing the claims, throwing kickbacks to the agents, and they left just as quickly as they arrived.

Seismic Retrofitting in Los Angeles and surrounding areas has brought opportunity contractors again. Some are local and are legit but many are not. They have developed shady practices to get retrofit contracts. We would like to expose some of these practices as a “buyer beware” page. Make you more informed and provide you with some tools to sort between the scammers and the legit contractors bidding for your Seismic Retrofit Projects.


  • All projects are subject to the same design criteria. It is a math based design and you know the old saying: “one plus one always equals two”. There are no shortcuts or gimics one contractor or engineer bring to the city to “get away” with less retrofitting.
  • All projects are designed by an Engineer licensed in the State of California. An Architect or a Contractor can’t submit a seismic design for review unless they are also a licensed Engineer.
  • All designs follow the California Building Code (CBC) and within it are required inspections, observations, and deputy inspections to complete and certify every project by any contractor.
  • All projects are submitted to the same Soft-Story Plan-Check Division for review and approval. With a handfull of plancheckers (also Engineers), your project is subject to the same review regardless who you hired and what they promised.
  • Similarly, the Soft-Story division of each city employs a handfull of Inspectors who visit each project and have their own set of wants and wishes for compliance. 

Here are some promises, false hopes, scams, and plays you need to be aware of:


A sales person will visit your site (not an engineer). Puzzled by the building, they’ll wonder why he/she was called to bid your building… Clearly this is a mistake, this building does not need to be retrofitted. We can clear this up for you. Of course you will need to pay to have plans and structural calcs. prepared to “prove” the city it is a total mistake. Months go by and the City is not convinced. They require the work to be done. You’ll be upset, the sales person will offer you your design fee back if you let them do the construction. Not to worry, that is what they wanted all along, and the construction cost includes the design fee in the numbers. 


A sales person visits your site (again, not an engineer). They will inform you of some close relationship with the city and a fuzzy math system to eliminate most of the work required, and get you out of the requirement much cheaper than any other company. They will quote you a price, ask you to pay on your own for the design/engineering. Once permitted the plan grew to the requirements of the code and you’ll be required to pay the difference (from the original bid to the inflated actual cost to complete). Again, you’ll be upset, the sales person will inform you it’s the city’s fault and unfortunately you have to comply. You have already paid the design and a nice deposit for the construction. You’re stuck paying whatever to complete the work or be in breach and exposed to a mechanic’s lien.


We refer to this as an open-ended contract. It leaves you vulnerable to significant costs which are never quantified at time of signing. The contract seems to be a good price but you don’t really know until it’s over. In reality we know of these added fees. They include: Permits, Deputy inspection, Notifications, Inspector’s, Observations, and a few more. When you’ll add it all up, you’ll find the “incidentals” are a significant cost and the base number is not the final cost to retrofit. 


What is a “Paper Contractor”? Simply put, it is usually an individual who performs no work other than hire subcontractors to perform the work under their Prime Contract with you, the Owner. In larger project it is a common occurence where the Contractor may perform a couple trades at most, leaving the rest to the subs to perform. Seismic retrofit projects are not suitable to this type of contractor. The work is very custom. It requires frequent inspections and field changes due to unknown or unforseen conditions. The subs will not perform efficiently, therefore they will cost more. They will also add a profit margin to each trade and the “paper contractor” will mark it up as well for a total lump sum of… too much! Additionally, the work will be delayed as well. So you pay more and get less. You’re better off looking into a company that self performs their work or at least the major components of the work.


There are several companies driven by design and owned by an Engineer. They work with several independent contractors and they refer the work to them for a percentage of the cost of construction. They will only contract with you for the cost of design. They will become the engineer of record and will control the bidders and the numbers. Furthermore, the designs are sometimes overbearing and will cost you more to retrofit with a higher payoff to the engineer. Any change brought on by the contractor, unforeseen conditions, city review and/or inspections will be submitted to the engineer for review and you will carry an endless cost to the engineer and the contractor.


This contractor will drain the contract and appear to be complete with the scope of work. They will also drain you of all the payments needed to complete the work. Unfortunately, the inspectors assigned to these Soft-Story projects have developed a checklist of what they anticipate coming back to the Building Department in order to achieve the final sign off by the city and the County’s Certificate of Occupancy. You will be left chasing a final sign off and your contractor, because until you get your sign off, your building is still non-compliant with the mandatory program.   


The sad truth is that nobody gets favors, shortcuts, or deals from the Soft-Story Division of the Building Department. All the projects are subject to the same requirements, approval, and oversight. With the cost of construction labor and trades being about the same everywhere, The cost (the actual cost) is about the same as well. The question is only, will you be given the cost upfront or pay for it as you go along… and then some? We  urge you to consider a company that provides a complete turn-key service. One that is transparent, offers cost and time guarantees. A reputable, local company with roots in the community. One that offers in house services from design to notification and completion of the construction.

We demonstrated the added services and costs associated with earthquake retrofit Los Angeles and adjacent areas. Costs owners will be forced to pay to complete and comply with the Seismic Retrofit Ordinance Los Angeles requirement. In addition to Core Contractors complete transparency and covering the hidden costs of seismic retrofitting, we also offer a low price guarantee to complete the retrofiring of buildings. So we urge you contact the earthquake retrofit contractors Los Angeles area to get proposals, do the legwork, ask the important questions, do your due diligence. When completed, contact us for a last look so we may guarantee a low price and with more scope and protections guarantees. We will complete the Soft Story retrofit without hidden costs and within 30 days. The choice is clear!

When you complete your due diligence, you will know where you’ll get the best deal, best value, without surprises.  Core Contractors provides a seismic retrofitting service that is unmatched in the industry. Get more for less.

Core Contractors, This is who we are, this is what we do!