Transforming problem houses into Dream Homes

Project in Progess: San Francisco Foundation Replacement and New Unit

San Francisco has a program, the purpose of which is to encourage landlords to improve the earthquake safety of their properties. If a landlord voluntarily performs a seismic upgrade to a building meeting certain specific criteria, the City allows the landlord to add one or more rental units to the building, waiving many of the Planning restrictions (though not all).

My client has a two story, two unit building over a basement that has an existing brick foundation. Now, brick foundations might have been fine at the turn of the last century (1908), but they perform horribly in earthquakes. So he is replacing the foundations and upgrading the property’s seismic (earthquake) performance. In exchange, we are adding a new 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom rental unit at the basement level.

As part of the foundation replacement, we are going to excavate down under the house in order to have 8 foot ceilings in the new unit.

15dec13_Preliminary sketch

This is an challenging project. Even with the exemptions to Planning restrictions, it still took us some time to develop a plan that the Planning Department could approve without reservation.

We filed the permit application last week. No telling how long the permit approval process will take.

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