What is Project Impact?
home retrofit classes for homeowners
Project Impact is a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program to mitigate earthquake damage by encouraging homeowners to do seismic retrofit of their homes. Seismic retrofitting includes anchoring the home to the foundation, bracing cripple walls, connecting floor joists, and strapping the water heater. Homeowners can do the work themselves with proper training, or a contractor may be used. The retrofitting process does make a difference—these homes perform better in earthquakes.
The cities of Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, and Redmond are partners in this project by offering Standard Home Earthquake Retrofit Plans, produced in cooperation with FEMA and a simplified permit process. To receive Project Impact guidelines and step-by-step home retrofit information please contact The City of Kirkland Building department at 425-587-3600.
why do home earthquake retrofitting?
Moderate earthquakes over the past 150 years have caused widespread damage throughout the Pacific Northwest, and experts warn such earthquakes are certain to occur again. Such a moderate quake occurred on February 28, 2001. In addition, recent scientific findings anticipate even larger earthquakes in the future. Earthquakes in California and elsewhere have graphically demonstrated the benefits of strengthening wood-frame houses to resist earthquake damage. This type of "mitigation" protects families, increases public safety, safeguards real estate investments, and fosters community recovery.
Questions Homeowners Ask About Retrofitting…
Q: How do I know if my home is adequately secured to the foundation?
Homes built before 1965 generally lack foundation anchor bolts. Homes built between 1965 and 1975 may have foundation anchor bolts. Homes built after 1975 generally will have foundation anchor bolts. Some homes built as recently as 1985 may lack anchor bolts.
Q: My home was built in the ‘30’s and appears to have survived the 1949 and 1965 earthquakes just fine. Doesn’t this mean that I’m probably not at much risk?
No. Each time an earthquake hits, it weakens your structure. And because each event is different, what’s happened in the past is no guarantee of what may happen in the future.
Q: Is there anything I can do to protect my home if a really serious earthquake hits?
Yes. Many things can reduce the likelihood of damage, including anchoring your home to the foundation, strapping down your water heater and securing your belongings.
Q: What does it cost to retrofit?
It depends on what needs to be done and if you can do some of it yourself. Materials can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, and a tool-lending library is available to help you courtesy of the Phinney Neighborhood Association and Roger Faris.
Q: What requirements must my home meet in order to use the Standard Home Earthquake Retrofit Plans?
To use the Standard Home Earthquake Retrofit (SHER) Plan a home must have:
- 4 or fewer dwelling units
- light wood frame construction
- 3 or fewer stories
- solid concrete or concrete block foundation
- moderate slope of 30% or less
- average shape and size
See SHER Plans for further details. Packets including the SHER plans are available at the Kirkland Fire and Building Permitting Counter. Call 425-828-1144 to arrange for a Homeowner’s Retrofit Packet.
To find out if your home needs to be retrofitted against earthquakes
The best place to start is at the Home Retrofit Class for Homeowners. If you find out your home needs to be retrofitted, there are two ways to accomplish it: by doing it yourself, or hiring a contractor trained on the new standards. By taking the Home Retrofit Class for Homeowners, you will have a better understanding as to which is the best method for you. Even if you already know that your home needs to be retrofitted and you are going to hire one of the trained contractors, we still recommend that you attend a class to understand the process and to be a better informed consumer.
Retrofitting Classes for Contractors:
UW Construction Management
Home Retrofit Loans:
Boeing Employees Credit Union
(press option 2)
University of Washington Seismology Lab:
For seismic risk information:
Pacific NW Seismograph Networkseis_info@ess.washington.edu
Lab (206) 543-7010
Regional Home RetrofitContacts
Bellevue Planning & Community Development Department
Web page: City of Bellevue PCD Department
King County Building Services Division (DDES)
(206) 296-6600 -General Info
(206) 296-6797 -Permit Appt
Web page: Metro King County
Kirkland Fire & Building Department
(425) 587-3600 - Permit Application
web page: Kirkland Fire & Building Department
Redmond Building Division
web page: Redmond Building DepartmentIssaquah Building Department
web page: Issaquah Building DepartmentFEMA
web page: Federal Emergency Management Agency