Home > Contractors & Design Professionals > What You Need to Know > ESS Contractor & Design Pro Program Rules

Contractor & Design Professionals Program Rules

ESS Contractor & Design Professionals Program RulesHomeowners, Contractors, and Design Professionals participating in the Earthquake Soft Story (ESS) program are required to agree to and adhere to the full ESS Program Rules and CRMP's Terms of Use.

To participate in the ESS program, contractors must:

  • Perform all ESS retrofit work in accordance FEMA P-1100 or using plans prepared by a California licensed Design Professional (structural engineer or architect).
  • Design all retrofits utilizing the appropriate seismic design category (information can be found here.) If a retrofit is engineered, it must meet or exceed FEMA P-1100 plan set specifications and requirements.
  • Ensure that every building permit for an ESS retrofit states that the seismic retrofit is to be performed in accordance with FEMA P-1100.
    • If necessary, the building permit must state that the seismic retrofit is to be performed in accordance with FEMA P-1100 using plans prepared by a Licensed Design Professional.
  • Be listed in the ESS Contractor Directory. To be listed in the ESS Contractor Directory, contractors must be a California-licensed, Type A or B (Type B-2 is not eligible to do retrofit work) general contractor in good standing, and have registered for, and successfully completed, the free ESS FEMA training.
    • Contractors may be removed from the Directory in the event ESS determines that the Participating Contractor has failed to meet the Program requirements.

To participate in the ESS Program, Design Professionals (engineers and architects) must:

  • Ensure all submissions (e.g., plans, design, letters) completed for an ESS retrofit are in accordance with FEMA P-1100.
  • Perform all ESS retrofits in accordance with FEMA P-1100 and ensure that an employee, worker, or other associated person who has taken and successfully completed the FEMA ESS training videos and quizzes offered on this website, oversees and approves all ESS retrofit work performed by the Participating Contractor.
  • Not be barred by the State of California or the federal government from bidding on, accepting, or performing any State of California or federal-government- funded public works contracts, either as a contractor or subcontractor.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to work within the local jurisdiction’s building construction process.
  • Provide good workmanship, reasonable pricing, and in good faith follow all ESS Program Rules.

Design Professionals may be removed from the Directory in the event ESS determines that the Design Professional has failed to meet the program requirements.

ESS has no obligation to maintain, keep current, or monitor licensing, financial condition, contracts, or competence of any Contractor or Design Professional listed on any directory or any other Contractor or Design Professional hired by a Participating Homeowner.

It is important for contractors and design professionals to understand what Program rules their ESS homeowner clients need to follow.

For Participating Homeowners, the Program Rules include but are not limited to:

  • Homeowner must use the house as their primary residence, be the owner of record, and live in the house that will be retrofitted.
  • The house must be located within one of the ZIP Codes designated by ESS.
  • The house must have been built before 2000 and sit on level ground or a low slope.
  • The house must meet the structural requirements of FEMA P-1100 and be one of four types:
    • Type 1—House Over Garage + Ground Floor Finished Living Space
    • Type 2—Room Over Garage + Crawl Space Previously Retrofitted
    • Type 3—Room Over Garage + Crawl Space Needing Retrofit
    • Type 4—House Over Garage + No Ground Floor Finished Living Space
  • The house must have had no incentive payment previously received from ESS, or any other soft-story earthquake retrofit incentive grant program for the legal parcel.
    • Receipt of previous incentive payments exclusively for the retrofit of the crawlspace (Earthquake Brace + Bolt-type retrofit) does not exclude a homeowner from participation in the ESS Program.
  • The building permit must be received and dated after acceptance into ESS.
    • The building permit must state the retrofit is in accordance with FEMA P-1100.
  • If the retrofit is an engineered solution, the signed and stamped letter from the Design Professional must state the retrofit is in accordance with FEMA P-1100.
  • No partial retrofits are allowed.
  • In addition to the ESS retrofit, the water heater must be strapped and braced. If it's a tankless water heater, it must be secured according to the building code.
  • The homeowner must meet all program deadlines and submit the required documentation.
  • The homeowner must hire a contractor listed on the ESS Contractor Directory.
  • If a homeowner receives a bid for the retrofit that is more than $10,000, the homeowner must get another bid from a contractor in the ESS Directory and provide that bid to ESS.
    • If the higher bid is chosen, the homeowner must state the reason.
  • The house must successfully pass a final inspection by a local building inspector, confirming the retrofit was done in accordance with FEMA P-1100.

Review the full ESS Program Rules (PDF)

See if Your Home Qualifies for an ESS Retrofit

Sign Up to Receive ESS Program Updates

801 K Street, Suite 1000
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (877) 232-4300

©2024 California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP)

Privacy Policy  |  Social Media Guidelines  |  Terms of Use  |  Disclaimer