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How Much Does a Soft-Story Retrofit Cost in Los Angeles? | Retrofit Pros


Property owners don't know what a retrofit will cost - our article helps explain what you can expect to pay for retrofitting your soft-story property in Los Angeles, CA.

As soon as I meet an apartment building owner I get asked: “How much will a soft-story retrofit cost?”. It is the most common question I get asked during a site inspection. The prices can range drastically from building to building, no two buildings are alike. Each building is unique and can have its own construction challenges. As a retrofit contractor in Los Angeles, we've seen all types of soft-story buildings across the city. We've written this article to help you understand how much you can expect to pay to retrofit your soft-story building; don't be fooled by unlicensed contractors that will promise to retrofit your building for $10,000. Our goal is to become your partner throughout the retrofit process, if you live in Los Angeles you'll want to read our article What is the Retrofit Process in the City of Los Angeles? - click here to read it

When this ordinance became law, ‘construction cost’ was a hard question to answer. Now that almost 1,000 buildings have been retrofitted in the City of Los Angeles, construction costs are easier to identify. I will segment the construction costs into brackets with the costs, and show you a profile of building size. You should note that these are averages and each building is unique. I created these tier to help you understand the common pricepoints of soft-story retrofits in the City of Los Angeles.

How Much Does a Soft-Story Retrofit Cost? - San Pedro Retrofit Case Study

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(Small 5-Unit Apartment Building in West Los Angeles, CA)

Small Apartment Building

Approximate Cost: $20,000-$44,000

Building Profile:

  • Size 4-8 Units

  • Single-story above tuck under parking.

  • Level lot with easy access to the affected area.

  • No need to relocate any plumbing or major infrastructure.

  • No moment frames, just shear walls and small grade beams.

  • Some stucco repair due to diaphragm plywood installation.


(Medium 9-Unit building in West Los Angeles, CA)

Medium-Size Building

Approximate Cost: $45,000-$80,000

Medium-Size Building

Building Profile:

  • Size 10-15 Units.

  • Two stories above tuck under parking.

  • Level lot with easy to moderate access the to affected area.

  • Single Moment with full-length grade beams.

  • Shear walls and small grade beams on the return side walls or other parts of the building.


(Small Apartment Complex in Studio City, CA)

Small Apartment Complex

Approximate Cost: $82,000-$120,000

Building Profile:

  • Size 20-30 Units.

  • Two stories above tuck under parking.

  • Level lot with easy to moderate access to the affected area.

  • Single Moment with full-length grade beams.

  • Shear walls and small grade beams on the return side walls or another part of the building.


(Large 35-Unit Apartment Complex in Northridge, CA)

Large Apartment Complex

Approximate Cost: $250,000-$350+

Building Profile:

  • Size 50 Units.

  • Two, and Three stories above tuck under parking.

  • Level lot with easy to moderate access to the to affected area.

  • Multiple Moment frames with full length grade beams.

  • Multiple Shear walls and small grade beams on the return side walls or other part of the building.

  • Plumbing or major infrastructure relocated.

  • Stucco repair needed at new shear walls.

  • Framing labor with new hold downs and hardware between floors.

Frequently Asked Soft Story Retrofitting Questions:

What affects the cost of soft story retrofitting?

Labor, Labor and Labor! Soft story retrofitting is extremely labor intensive. About 70-75% of your construction costs are allocated to labor.

How can I mitigate the cost? Removed the bullets

Design with labor reducing strategies in mind. Consider opening up connection points and verify what is existing so the you can design with certainty. Minimize surprises. Avoid welding moment frames if possible.

How can I get the full picture of construction cost?

If you don’t have engineering drawings, you will never know what the true cost! I can’t tell you how many times property owners have come to me with “verbal estimates,” “ball park estimates”, and other none-sense related to their construction costs. I totally understand that building owners want to know how much it will cost, but don’t cut corners! Get the engineering plans done and get an accurate quote based on the plans!

Important Factors to Consider...

As you begin to interview contractors and engineers, make sure you focus on the individual and not solely on price. Construction is commonly treated as a commodity service and that can lead to major disappointment. This industry is filled with true construction professionals, but there are also many that fall short in both competence and professionalism. Be sure to ask about the processes that the company has in place to execute these types of projects successfully.

Want to Learn More?

If you want to learn everything there is to know about soft-story retrofits you'll want to check out our most in-depth article What is a Soft-Story Retrofit? Everything You Need to Know About Retrofits on our new website. There, you'll be able to access all of our retrofit blog articles, case studies, our retrofit gallery, short videos, and enjoy free access to our full-length soft-story webinars. Our team has developed all this content for property owners like you. It is your destination to learn all about the retrofit process. Bay Cities Construction and Soft-Story Retrofit Pros is here to help answer any questions you may have about your retrofit project. Our team has the experience to Engineer & Build a Cost-Effective Retrofit Solution for your property. Get started today by visiting our website at to schedule a free assessment.

About Us

For over 15 years Soft-Story Retrofit Pros has helped hundreds of homeowners with their projects. When you hireRetrofit Pros you don’t just hire a contractor, you hire an entire team of Pros. With several years of experience, our team has the expertise to help you Design, Engineer, and Build Your Retrofit Solution. We also represent you City Representation when submitting your plans and ensuring they are approved, and we handle all the Permit Processing so you never miss a day of work. If you think Retrofit Pros is the right team for you, contact us today. We have the experience, knowledge, and know how to help you save time & money on your seismic retrofit.

Ready to take the next step? We’re certain that Soft-Story Retrofit Pros is the best general contractor for your project, you can Schedule an Appointment by clicking HERE. We offer a complimentary One-hour consultation & assessment, so you can meet our team and we can discuss your Soft Story Retrofit project. If you have been disappointed by other contractors, it's time to call one of the best seismic retrofitters in Los Angeles.