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Earthquake Retrofit Grants

Brace and Bolt Grants from CEACEA is committed to making California communities safer, more resilient, and better able to recover from a damaging earthquake.

If you own an older house (built before 2000), consider a seismic retrofit to strengthen it and make it more resistant to earthquakes.

There are several kinds of seismic retrofits—the one you need depends on what type of house you have.

Brace & Bolt Retrofit

A “brace and bolt” retrofit strengthens homes built before 1980 that have what’s known as a raised foundation. Often these houses have one or two steps up to a front porch. This seismic retrofit involves bolting or bolting and bracing the house to its foundation in compliance with California Existing Building Code Chapter A3.

For qualifying homes with a completed and verified brace and bolt retrofit, CEA offers an earthquake insurance premium discount of up to 25%.

The California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP) offers an Earthquake Brace + Bolt grant program (EBB) to help fund your seismic retrofit.

Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB)

Earthquake Brace + Bolt is a grant program that offers up to $3,000 to qualified homeowners with eligible houses in a select number of higher-earthquake-risk ZIP Codes. 

You do not need to be a CEA policyholder to be eligible for this grant.

ZIP Codes eligible for EBB grants are chosen based on two factors:

  1. Earthquake Hazard: Hazard was identified using the United States Geological Survey (USGS) earthquake hazard map for California.
  2. Earthquake Vulnerability: Vulnerability was determined by identifying the percentage of pre-1940 houses in ZIP Codes in California (US Census Data). Older houses are more likely to require earthquake bracing and bolting.

Over time, and with additional funding, we hope to make all high hazard areas in California eligible for EBB grant funding. EBB program registration is open for a limited time each year. Visit the EBB website to learn when program registration is open, and if your home qualifies.

Learn about the value of an EBB retrofit

The value of an EBB retrofit - South Berkeley, CA


The Mosers - Earthquake Brace + Bolt

The Mosers live in South Berkeley, and they wanted to be sure they protected their investment by purchasing earthquake insurance and retrofitting their house through the Earthquake Brace + Bolt program.

Watch the Video

Living Space Over Garage Retrofit

Retrofits of single-family houses that have a living space over a garage, or “soft story,” are needed because without reinforcement of the garage area, they are especially at risk of collapse during an earthquake. A soft-story seismic retrofit strengthens the garage door and ground floor walls of the house so it can better withstand earthquake shaking.

Earthquake soft-story retrofits are performed in accordance with FEMA P-1100 (PDF).

The California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP) offers an Earthquake Soft-Story (ESS) grant program to help fund your seismic retrofit.

Earthquake Soft-Story (ESS)

CRMP’s Earthquake Soft-Story (ESS) is a seismic retrofit grant program designed to help protect homeowners from earthquake damage. CRMP created ESS to provide California homeowners with grants of up to $13,000 to seismically retrofit their soft-story house to better withstand earthquakes. 

You may be eligible to apply for an ESS grant if (among other criteria):

  • You own and live in the house you would like to retrofit;
  • The house is located in one of the ESS program areas, which are designated by ZIP Code
  • Your house was built before 2000;
  • Your house has a living space over the garage;
  • Your house is no more than two stories;
  • Your house is built on level ground or a slight slope;
  • Your house is wood-framed construction; and
  • You have not already completed a soft-story retrofit.​

You do not need to be a CEA policyholder to be eligible for this grant.

When ESS registration is open, you can complete ESS Registration online or request a paper registration form to mail. You will be asked questions about your house, and your answers will determine if your home qualifies for an ESS retrofit grant.


Are you a California-licensed contractor, and interested in learning how to complete seismic retrofits for new customers receiving grant money? You can register and complete training for EBB and ESS, after which you’ll be automatically placed in the EBB and ESS Contractor Directories that homeowners use to select a contractor to complete their retrofit. Learn more about how to register with CRMP, complete program training, and get on the EBB and ESS Contractor Directories.

CEA Brace + Bolt (CEA BB)

The CEA BB program is now closed.

If you were a participant of the CEA BB program and need to access information, log in to your Policyholder Dashboard.

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