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Soft-Story Program

 Seismic Retrofit Program

for Existing Wood-Frame Soft-Story Buildings


Properties subject to the Ordinance were identified and given a Tier I, Tier II, or Tier III designation. A description of each tier and the associated milestone deadlines are listed below. Notices to Comply have currently been distributed to property owners with Tier I and/or Tier II buildings. Tier III building property owners will receive notices at a future date. 



Buildings with 3+ stories


Buildings with 2 stories, with 6+ units


Buildings not included in Tier I or Tier II

Submit Screening Form December 30, 2019 July 6, 2020 January 4, 2021
Submit completed permit application with detailed retrofit plans and structural calculations June 30, 2020 January 5, 2021 July 6, 2021
Obtain all necessary permits for the retrofit of the building June 30, 2021 January 5, 2022 July 6, 2022
Commence construction and schedule required building inspections December 29, 2021 July 6, 2022 January 4, 2023
Complete construction work under all necessary permits and obtain Final Inspection approval June 30, 2022 January 5, 2023 July 6, 2023


Mandatory Standards for Seismic Strengthening of Wood-Frame Buildings with Soft, Weak or Open-Front Walls

The purpose of these Seismic Design Guidelines is to provide additional information and clarification to Civil or Structural engineers in order to comply with Ordinance No. 18-O-2767 for existing buildings with soft, weak, or open front wall lines.

To access the Seismic Design Guidelines click on the link below:

Beverly Hills Design Guidelines for Seismic Retrofit of Wood-frame Soft-story Buildings


For Existing Wood-Frame Multi-family Buildings with Soft, Weak or Open-Front Walls

The Screening Form is the first milestone set forth in Ordinance 18-O-2767 and Title 9, Chapter 5, Article of the Beverly Hills Municipal Code for the retrofit of existing wood-frame multi-family buildings with soft, weak, or open front wall. The Screening Report is intended to provide additional information to determine I f a building is in the scope of the ordinance and a retrofit is required or if the building is exempt from further evaluation.

The building information provided in the screening form will be reviewed by the City of Beverly Hills to determine whether the seismic retrofit is required, in accordance with Ordinance 18-O-2767 and Title 9, Chapter 5, Article 4 of the Beverly Hills Municipal code. The Screening Form must be prepared by a Design Professional (Civil Engineer, Structural Engineer, or Architect) licensed in the State of California.

To access the City of Beverly Hills Seismic Retrofit Screening Form for Wood-Frame Soft-Story Buildings click on the link below:

Soft-Story Seismic Retrofit Screening Form

Refund of Soft-Story Seismic Retrofit Building Permit Fee

Soft-Story Seismic Retrofit projects that are completed and receive final inspection within 18 months of the property's Notice to Comply date are eligible for a 100% refund of the building permit fee associated with the project. Projects that are completed within 24 months of the property's Notice to Comply date are eligible for a 50% refund of the building permit fee associated with the project. 

Tier Notice to Comply Date
Tier I (buildings with 3+ stories) July 1, 2019
Tier II (buildings with 2 stories, with 6+ units) January 6, 2020
Tier III (buildings not included in Tier I or Tier II) July 6, 2020

If your project has received final inspection and was completed within 18-24 months of the Notice to Comply date, please follow the instructions below to apply for a refund of the building permit fee:

  1. Download and complete the Request for Refund of Development Related Fees Form
  2. Locate proof of payment for the permit fees (i.e. receipt, credit card statement, copy of check, etc.).
  3. Send completed form and proof of payment to Please indicate in the email that it is a refund request for a Soft-Story Seismic Retrofit permit. 
  4. You will receive a response as soon as the refund request form and proof of payment have been received. The request will be reviewed, and you will receive an email as soon as the status of the review has been updated. If approved, you will receive the refund check within 1-2 weeks after processing. 

Mandatory Seismic Retrofit Ordinance for Wood-Frame Soft-Story Buildings 

The City of Beverly Hills is taking a proactive approach to earthquake safety with the goal to help protect people and minimize damage of vulnerable buildings in the event of a major earthquake. As such, the City has developed a mandatory seismic retrofit ordinance intended at strengthening existing wood-frame multi-family soft-story buildings.

The new ordinance (No. 18-O-2767) was adopted at the December 11, 2018 formal City Council meeting. The ordinance became effective on January 11, 2019.

The new mandatory ordinance addresses soft-story buildings which are most vulnerable and have been identified with the following criteria:

  • A permit for construction of a new building was applied for before January 1, 1978, or if no permit can be located, the structure is determined by the City Building Official to have been built under building code standards enacted prior to January 1, 1978, and
  • The ground floor or basement portion of the structure contains parking or other similar open floor space that causes Soft, Weak, or Open-Front Wall lines and there exists one or more stories above.

Note: If the soft-story structure is detached from all of the other buildings on site, and there is only one unit in the structure with a soft-story condition, a request for exemption can be filed for review. (Note: Ordinance No. 18-O-2767 does not apply to single family structures and buildings.) 

If you believe your property is eligible for an exemption, please contact for more information about filing the exemption. 

Important Documents Regarding the Soft-story Seismic Retrofit Program: 

For additional information or for any questions, please contact Senior Plan Review Engineer, Daisy Zhong, the City's Seismic Retrofit Program project Manager at: (310)285-1109 or via email at:





 City Council Meeting

November 20, 2018

Access Council Meeting Video & Agenda Report

Health and Safety Commission

October 22, 2018

Access Commission Meeting Video & Agenda Report


City Council Meeting

August 7, 2018

Access Council Meeting Video & Agenda Report


To find a California licensed engineer:

Please visit the State of California's Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists and/or Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) websites for information regarding licensed engineers (please use links below):

 To find a California licensed architect:

  • Please visit the California Architects Board for information regarding licensed architects:

 To find a California licensed contractor:

Please visit the Contractors State License Board for information regarding hiring a contractor and to verify if a contractor is licensed and insured:

California Department of Consumer Affairs: How to Hire a Contractor

Additional information: 

2016 Safer Cities Survey - developed by The Dr. Lucy Jones Center in partnership with the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) which provides information on the risks of seismic events in Southern California, an overview of steps taken by jurisdictions in the Los Angeles region, and a description of vulnerable building types. 

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