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The Best Seismic Retrofit Contractor in San Francisco

October 1, 2018 12 Min Read

The Bay Area, including San Francisco, Oakland, and the surrounding areas, is vulnerable to earthquakes. The city’s Department of Building Inspection initiated a Mandatory Soft Story Program in 2013 to retrofit the city’s structures, especially those with soft story conditions.

This spurred numerous contractors to take up the challenge of retrofitting homes. These 15 contractors are the best in San Francisco for tackling the important task of seismic retrofitting both residential and commercial structures.

Liske Construction

22 Ina Court, San Francisco, CA 94112

Liske Construction is a San Francisco-based general contractor serving the city of San Francisco, the East Bay, and the Peninsula areas. Although the company offers most of the same services of a general contractor such as new construction, their specialties are kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, deck construction, and seismic retrofitting.

Liske Construction caters to both the residential and commercial markets, and will take on any project, regardless of size. Run by company manager Patrick Liske, Liske Construction has a reputation of going the extra mile to provide professional, cutting-edge service designed to leave their clients satisfied and safe.

Mulhall Construction

1654 24th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122

Mulhall Construction is a family-owned general contractor based in San Francisco. They specialize in custom home construction, commercial remodel, and seismic retrofitting. Run by President Adrian Mulhall, a third generation carpenter from Dublin, the firm has assembled an impressive team of 8 experts who together have more than 100 years of experience.

Mulhall’s natural skills in both carpentry and management have helped him become an excellent contractor who emphasizes a high standard of work and a strong working relationship with clients. The company’s extensive passion, combined with impressive experience in retrofitting, ensures the strength and safety of each home and commercial space they work on.

SFT Construction

2130 Harrison St Suite A, San Francisco, CA 94110

SFT Construction is one of the youngest companies on this list, established in 2015. With offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the contracting firm is fully specialized in seismic retrofits and related services for both residential and multi-family clients.

Run by CEO Farzad Torabian, the young company aims by 2030 to become one of the top 5 seismic sustainability companies not only in California, but in the entire country. Founded on a high-standard of honesty, the company’s core values are: care for life, commitment to customers, uniqueness, and ethical action.

Add a Garage Construction Company

2655 Van Ness Avenue #3. San Francisco, CA. 94109

Add a Garage Construction Company is a general contractor that offers seismic retrofits, general construction, and design-build services to San Francisco single and multi-family residential clientele. Fred Pavlow founded the company in 1987 after selling his previous venture, a foundations and tunneling company that went on to become one of the largest firms of its kind in the West.

Pavlow’s construction experience stretches back to the Second World War, when he built airfields in the South Pacific. He formed the company with Ken Bloch, due to the frustration from the lack of street parking because older homes had not been built to accommodate parking. Since then, hundreds of projects have been completed using steel and concrete through state-of-the art excavation, underpinning, and shoring techniques.

Bay Area Retrofit

427 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

Albany-based Bay Area Retrofit was established in 1994 by Howard Cook and services the entire Bay Area. Cook, who still owns the company today, has had a firsthand look at the extensive damage that can be caused by an earthquake, and understands the importance of building structures with this in mind. Due to his experience, FEMA hired Cook to evaluate earthquake damaged homes after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.

Bay Area Retrofit prevents this from happening

He is recognized as a thought leader in the world of seismic retrofits. In addition to working hands-on in the field, Cook also produces valuable academic research on the topic, which makes him quite unique among contractors. His credentials and knowledge made him a sought-after resource on seismic retrofits. He has been featured in two documentaries and was invited to teach the City of San Leandro’s seismic retrofit courses.

Seismic Retrofitters

45 W Portal Ave, San Francisco, CA 94127

Seismic Retrofitters is a third-generation San Francisco-based seismic retrofitting contractor. The family-owned firm is owned by Mark Barbagelata, who has nearly three decades of experience in construction and real estate. The company was founded with an understanding of the importance of a safe and secure home and with a particular focus on the nature of soft story structures in San Francisco.

Project by Seismic Retrofitters

Barbagelata offers his clients state-of-the-art services at fair and honest prices. The company’s philosophy is “to improve the strength and safety of soft story, multi-use and residential buildings with reasonable investment.” Their business model today is the same as it was when it was founded – to protect one’s life, family, and property.

Design Everest

365 Flower Lane, Mountain View CA 94043

Founded by Aakash Prasad in 2005, Design Everest is an engineering firm based in San Francisco, with additional locations in Mountain View, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Folsom to best serve their clients. From these multiple offices, Design Everest provides services to the entire state of California.

Project by Design Everest

They engage primarily in structural and civil engineering and their projects range from residential to commercial and light industrial. To get the job done to the best of their ability with a high level of client satisfaction and timeliness, the company employs 55 licensed engineers and drafters. To date, the company has completed more than 1,200 projects.

KC Custom Builders

1100 Thomas Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102

KC Builders is a San Francisco-based contractor that specializes in earthquake retrofitting and other related upgrades. Established by Joe Casey in 1985, the company also offers wood framing services, and tower crane and forklift rentals. The types of structures worked on by KC Custom Builders vary widely, from large multi-family condominiums and single-family homes, to tenant improvements and new commercial buildings.

Project by KC Custom Builders

Dedicated to impressing clients with their high-quality work and customer service, the firm uses only top-notch materials, quality construction methods, offers excellent prices, and provides friendly, eager, and courteous service.

Builders Unlimited

28302 Industrial Blvd, Suite I, Hayward, CA 94545

Greg and Arturo Diaz founded Builders Unlimited as a family-owned enterprise in 1997. The Hayward-based general contractor provides services throughout the Bay Area, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, and San Francisco counties. Prior to starting Builders Unlimited, Greg and Arturo owned Builders Unlimited Home Improvement as a partnership specializing in residential remodels and landscaping services.

While their current company still does remodels and landscaping, they now specialize in seismic retrofitting both commercial and residential buildings. Before entering business together, the Diazs were each superintendents for five years and were in the local Iron Workers union for a combined 20 years. The company’s mission is to “provide quality construction services and exceptional customer satisfaction through honesty and integrity.”

Alameda Structural Inc.

23 Shepardson Ln, Alameda, CA 94502

Founded in 1984, Alameda Structural Inc. is a foundation and structural contractor based in Alameda, and servicing Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Kensington, Oakland, and San Francisco. Owner George Walton has been in the construction industry since the age of 11. Today, his firm works on 150 to 200 foundation projects annually. The company’s clientele range from homeowners to the owners of small commercial establishments.

A sign of their integrity and faith in their ability to complete a project, Alameda Structural Inc. has a policy of only accepting payment when a job is completed, or only once large milestones are accomplished.

West Coast Premier Construction Inc.

1940 Union St, Ste 1, Oakland, CA 94607

West Coast Premier Construction Inc. (WCPC) is a design-build firm in Oakland run by Homayoun (Homy) Sikaroudi and Fred Darouian. Sikaroudi, a professional engineer, has a doctorate in earthquake engineering from the University of London and Darouian has a BA in architecture. With a combined 50 years of experience, they established WCPC in 1999 and have now completed several hundred projects together.

Today, their leadership team also includes Farzin Eshtehar, a structural engineer who has more than 30 years of experience in structural design and earthquake engineering. Although the firm specializes in seismic retrofit, they also handle historic building preservations, major remodels, additions, and new construction. West Coast Premier Construction is a member of the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC).

Nabi Construction & Engineering

340 Division St, San Francisco CA 94103

Nabi Construction & Engineering is a San Francisco-based design-build firm. Founded in 1999 by Reza Nabipour, the firm offers a full range of architectural, engineering, and construction services for the San Francisco Area, including seismic retrofits. Nabi Construction & Engineering has completed hundred of projects on a wide range of structures, from single-story homes to multi-story buildings. The firm claims to be one of the earliest companies to conduct voluntary seismic retrofit before the city’s Mandatory Soft Story Program was implemented.

A particular source of pride for the firm in their catalogue of seismic retrofit projects is the multi-family residential building at 201 11th Avenue, which received overwhelmingly positive reviews from building owners and city officials, and was featured in local news programs.

Nieto Valle Construction

745 Pinedale Ct, Hayward, CA

Nieto Valle Construction is a family-owned firm based in Hayward, CA that serves both residential and commercial clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The firm’s owner, Julio Nieto Valle, has more than 16 years of experience in the industry. He managed several seismic retrofitting companies before founding his own in 2010. In addition to responsibilities at his own company, Valle is a program advisor for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and takes part in the Seismic Outreach Committee for the Inspection and Mitigation of Soft Story Hazards for the ABAG (Association of Bay Area of Government).

Nieto Valle Construction participates in California’s Brace and Bolt Program, a program of the California Earthquake Authority and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. In addition to seismic retrofits, Nieto Valle Construction works on foundations, house floor relevels, dry rot and termite repair, draining and pumping, framing, and inspection reporting. Nieto Valle Construction is BBB-Accredited with an A+ rating and has received the Best of Hayward Award for Best Seismic Retrofit Contractors two years in a row – 2015 and 2016.


  • Blaine Comeione

    Blaine has served as Editor at San Francisco Architects for six years, drawing from over ten years of experience in construction and real estate. His comprehensive understanding spans commercial construction, architecture, and home builds, cultivated through diverse roles in the industry. With four years at BuildZoom and a background as a licensed real estate agent, Blaine possesses a unique perspective that enriches his editorial work. His dedication to delivering informative content is underscored by his extensive tenure in the field, ensuring that readers receive valuable insights into the dynamic world of construction and home design. Expertise: Architecture, Commercial Construction, Home Design and Build Key Highlights: Over 6 years of experience writing and editing in the construction space, Editor at San Francisco Architects, Previous experience at BuildZoom and Keller Williams Realty Education: Ohio University, Bachelor of Science in Human and Consumer Science - Minor in Business, 120+ Hours of New Jersey Real Estate Education, 120+ Hours of Arizona Real Estate Education

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