As earthquakes are a continuous possibility in California, more and more homeowners are on the lookout for measures to protect their loved ones and their homes from considerable damage. From structural engineers to seismic retrofit specialists and scholars, this list compiles the best seismic retrofitting contractors in San Jose, California. These are the professionals who will help homeowners reinforce their homes against earthquakes or rebuild after one occurs.
Our editorial team selected these builders based on their local background, extensive experience, and ability to equip a home with seismic safety measures.
Bay Area Retrofit
427 San Pablo Avenue, Albany, CA 94706
For the past 24 years, Bay Area Retrofit has been serving the San Francisco Bay Area, from Berkeley and Oakland in the North Bay all the way to Sunnyvale and San Jose in the South Bay. As a member of industry organizations such as the Structural Engineers Associations (SEA) National Council, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, and the International Code Council, Bay Area Retrofit is up to date with the latest techniques and standards in seismic retrofitting. The firm also specializes in bolting homes to the foundation, bracing cripple walls to prevent collapse, and shear wall construction.
Unique to the other firms on this list, Bay Area Retrofit is led by a scholar and specialist, Howard Cook, who has co-authored a local seismic retrofit guideline called “Standard Plan A.” This guide is used, to this day, by the California Earthquake Authority, as well as building departments all over the Bay Area. Aside from this guide, Howard has co-authored several other publications related to retrofitting and he has been featured in both the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. At present, Howard and his firm are the only contractors on a committee developing a national seismic retrofit building code, which reflects their dedication to offering their knowledge and expertise on seismic retrofitting and engineering to benefit the public.
Tracery Professional Builders
251 East Hacienda Avenue, Unit C, Campbell, CA 95008
When it comes to seismic retrofitting, the most important thing is to work with a contractor with the experience and training required to perform a successful retrofit. Tracery Professional Builders has just that, in the form of its founder and president Mark Macdonald. Mark has credentials that set him apart from other builders, having earned three degrees in the building field: a Master of Science in Civil Engineering, in Construction Management, a Bachelor of Science in Structural Engineering, and an Associates Degree in Architecture.
Mark uses his structural and civil engineering degrees, as well as his certification as a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-Trained Brace and Bolt Contractor to respond to California homeowners’ needs for seismic strengthening. For those who are interested in reinforcing their homes, the firm offers its expertise in calculating seismic forces, alternate load paths, diaphragm action, and other critical functionalities. Interested clients may call the firm at the number 408-643-0018.
Saunders Construction, Inc.
3710 A Charter Park Drive, San Jose, CA 95136
Saunders Construction began in 1979 as a general contractor. Later, in 1984, the firm started setting the standards for commercial seismic retrofits in Los Angeles. To date, Saunders Construction has successfully finished over 2,000 projects and continues today to perform seismic retrofits for soft-story and commercial buildings, including tilt-up, non-ductile concrete, steel frame, and unreinforced masonry for all types of commercial properties.
Saunders Construction is known in the industry for its expertise when it comes to performing seismic retrofits and structural repairs while buildings are occupied. Its skilled, in-house crews are trained to provide the highest level of customer service and excellence to minimize business disruptions during construction. An example of the firm’s work is the seismic retrofit for a high-end medical facility in Beverly Hills. The project had specific tenant requests and was completed in eight weeks, with the Saunders team working nights and weekends to complete the retrofit of the 17,777-square-foot medical building. Learn more about them at saundersseismic.com
Nieto Valle Construction
745 Pinedale Ct, Hayward, CA 94544
Founded in 2010, Nieto Valle Construction is a family-owned and operated business catering to the residential and commercial seismic retrofit needs of the San Francisco Bay Area. The firm is a member of specialized industry associations such as the FEMA and the Association of Bay Area of Government (ABAG) Seismic Outreach Committee for the Inspection and Mitigation of Soft Story Hazards. It is also FEMA-trained in Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB). As proof of its expertise, the firm was awarded the “Best of Hayward Award for Best Seismic Retrofit Contractors” for two consecutive years.
The firm is led by owner Julio Nieto Valle, a builder with close to twenty years of experience in the industry and prior experience managing other seismic retrofitting companies such as Earthquake Readiness Inc. and Anderson Niswander Construction Inc. Under Julio’s leadership, the firm has been helping customers with structural issues such as earthquake retrofits, house floor re-leveling, foundation repairs, and new foundations — services which the firm continues to provide to this day.
Bolt Down the Bay Area
3790 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306
For the firm Bolt Down the Bay Area, cultivating resilience in communities is the driving force of its practice. The firm couples its proven affordable residential seismic upgrades with over twenty years of experience to provide cost-effective solutions that will protect clients’ homes. Under the leadership of its owner, Sean Warner, the firm is FEMA-trained in Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) and all of the firm’s seismic upgrades are based on proven engineering designs and installation techniques.
Impressively, during the recent South Napa earthquake, none of the firm’s retrofit clients sustained any structural damage. The seismic event was a reminder that it is important to use the services of experienced specialists such as Bolt Down the Bay Area—the kind of professionals who have a complete understanding of what is necessary to provide high-quality seismic upgrades.
Peace of Mind Structural
180 South Boulevard, San Mateo, CA 94402
Peace of Mind Structural has been helping Northern California homeowners with their foundation needs for more than 30 years. As a family-owned and operated business, Peace of Mind is proud to deliver stellar craftsmanship with keen attention to detail, unparalleled customer service, and competitive pricing. Peace of Mind Structural has become synonymous with earthquake safety and retrofitting as an approved contractor in the Earthquake Brace & Bolt (EBB) program. However, its scope of services stretches well beyond and includes foundation repair and replacement, more general structural work, drainage improvements, and retaining wall construction. On the management team alone, Peace of Mind brings a collective 60+ years in construction management and safety, and the firm employs a specialized labor force that has training and expertise specifically in foundation and structural work, as well as seismic preparedness.
Because of the firm’s reliability and its high quality of work, it has earned a stellar and trusted reputation amongst homeowners and businesses alike. Many past clients commend the firm for its diligence, thoroughness, and professionalism. The firm was also praised for its communication and integrity. With over 70 positive reviews, the firm lives up to its name of giving customers peace of mind.
Bella Construction & Structural, Inc.
2053 Grant Road, Los Altos, CA 94040
Bella Construction & Structural Inc. is a locally-owned, full-service general contracting company with twenty years of experience in earthquake retrofitting. Because of its extensive experience, Bella Construction & Structural Inc. delivers innovative, efficient, cutting-edge, and effective seismic retrofit techniques. The firm stands by its promise that the retrofits it performs will substantially improve the structural integrity of clients’ homes and other buildings.
The firm offers services to reinforce any existing structure and enable it to become more resistant to intense vibrations, ground motions, seismic activity, or soil failure caused by unforeseen circumstances. Clients will be pleased to know that if they choose to work with Bella Construction, they are choosing a firm with decades of experience upgrading foundations to earthquake standards in an earthquake-strewn area. All of the firm’s projects are reviewed by a structural engineer, it only uses the latest safety standards, and it is renowned for specializing in safety.