Since 1998 a number of homeowners have been able to take advantage of predesigned solutions for bracing (aka retrofitting) their homes against earthquake damage by using “prescriptive plansets.” These plans help homeowners with qualifying structures obtain the necessary building permit(s) more quickly and easily and eliminate the need to hire a design professional to develop drawings.
- Determining if Your House Qualifies
- How to Use the Prescriptive Plansets
- How to Get a Permit from DPD
- Download Prescriptive Plansets & Earthquake Home Retrofit Series Booklets
- Download Homeowner's Guide to Nonstructural Earthquake Retrofit
- Retrofitting Resources
Details on using the plansets and applying for a retrofitting permit are provided below. For more information on the 2002 changes that made even more homes eligible for prescriptive plansets, see this news story.
Determining if Your House Qualifies
The prescriptive plansets are designed for homes which meet certain structural criteria which are set out in Booklet 2 of the Home Earthquake Retrofit Series, "How to Complete the Home Assessment Checklist."
Booklet 2 includes a checklist that must be submitted to DPD along with the prescriptive plansets, and explains the various components of the checklist. In general, the homes must be of light wood-frame construction and light roof construction, not irregularly shaped, with a reinforced concrete foundation, up to three stories in height (depending on the height of the support wall below your first floor), and on a relatively level lot.
Homes which do not meet the structural criteria of this program are still candidates for seismic retrofitting. However, an architect or structural engineer will need to develop specific plans for your home and DPD will need more time to review those more unique proposals.
How to Use the Prescriptive Plansets
After completing the home assessment checklist, and determining that your house qualifies for this program, you must complete the plansets. Sheet 1 provides a grid to create a scaled outline of your house foundation. Once you have completed this outline, you must select retrofit solutions from Sheet 2. The solutions vary depending on the specific construction of your home. Booklet 3 of the home retrofit series, "Guide to Completing an Earthquake Retrofit Plan for Wood-frame Residential Buildings," provides instruction on completing the prescriptive plansets.
How to Get A Permit from DPD
Two plansets may be submitted to the DPD Applicant Services Center without an appointment for expedited review by a building plans reviewer. Download a Home Retrofit Permit Application (189KB PDF). The checklist must be completed and submitted to DPD along with the plansets. Please see the Home Retrofit Flyer for more information.
DPD’s goal for completing review is 24 hours. Fees are based on your estimated value of work, labor and materials and are collected at intake. A DPD building inspector will review your work on site.
- If you have questions, please contact a permit specialist at the DPD Applicant Services Center, located on the 20th floor of Seattle Municipal Tower at 700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2000, (206) 684-8850.
Download Prescriptive Plansets & Earthquake Home Retrofit Series
Electronic versions of the Earthquake Home Retrofit Plansets are available below. The plansets include three large pages, each measuring 11"x17".
- PDF files - Standard Earthquake Home Retrofit Overview
Electronic versions of the Home Earthquake Retrofit Series are available below:
- Booklet 2 - "How to Complete the Home Assessment Checklist"
- Booklet 3 - "Guide to Completing an Earthquake Retrofit Plan for Wood-frame Residential Buildings"
Printed versions of these documents are available from DPD’s Public Resource Center, located on the 20th floor of Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2000, (206) 684-8467. Copies are also available to homeowners and contractors/building professionals who attend the Seattle Project Impact home retrofit classes and trainings.
Homeowner's Guide to Nonstructural Earthquake Retrofit
Learn about areas of your home that are susceptible to earthquake damage and what you can do to protect yourself and reduce damage to nonstructural items - e.g., bookcases, cabinets, picture frames, lights, windows, doors, appliances - in the Homeowner's Guide to Nonstructural Earthquake Retrofit.
- Additional information on earthquake damage prevention and earthquake recovery is available on the Seattle Project Impact website.
Classes are offered and loans are available to assist you in retrofitting. For information, go to Retrofitting Resources (classes, loans, etc.).