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Retrofit Services and Foundation Upgrades

Retrofit Services and Foundation Repairs

On The Level offers foundation repairs, retrofit services and consulting to homeowners, lenders and insurance companies for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. PERMANENT FOUNDATION:  To meet lender permanent foundation requirements for Cal-Vet, VA, or FHA-insured loan (often required after a determination by an engineer).   Permits required in California.
  2. SEISMIC RETROFIT:  FOR INSURANCE COMPANY – To meet the seismic safety requirements of an insurance underwriter for an earthquake policy.
  3. SEISMIC RETROFIT:  FOR HOMEOWNER – To upgrade the home using a state-certified Earthquake Resistant Bracing System (ERBS) to give the homeowner peace of mind.  Permits required in California.

What are Foundation Repairs and Retrofits?

The terminology “foundation repairs” or “retrofits” is generally used to describe proprietary systems . What is a proprietary system?????

It is a pre-manufactured, often times “beefier” support system designed to provide additional vertical and horizontal resistance in wind, snow, and seismic zones—and that the design criteria has been pre-approved and stamped by an engineer. Having been registered as an approved plan with the state, a proprietary system has already demonstrated through testing data that it meets or exceeds certain requirements. When utilizing a proprietary Standard Plan Approval (SPA), plan check fees at the building department can usually be avoided. However, a proprietary system is not the only solution. An engineer can design a site-specific plan as long as it meets local codes and will be accepted by the building department. Another important point, adding a retrofit doesn’t mean the existing components are removed. In fact, the manufactured home’s existing supports are still necessary for the load displacement, reduction of floor vibration and for leveling adjustability. A retrofit is generally required to meet loan or insurance specifications for “permanent” attachment, wind resistance, snow loads or seismic resistance. If you would like to see a video installation of one of the proprietary systems, click here:

The individual requirements for the different systems are better detailed in the following links.

Retrofit services fall in the following 3 categories:

Retrofit Foundation System (PERMANENT FOUNDATION GUIDE FOR MANUFACTURED HOMES, dated September 1996)

Foundation System: A foundation system under a manufactured home is a system that affixes the home to the land through a mechanical connection rather than through a simple paper trail for the purposes of tax assessment. The physical connection effectively conjoins the home and land as real property.

Many lenders now require that the manufactured home be attached to the land for the primary purpose of protecting their investment. Some states have specific strategies for the installation of foundation systems, the regulation of the types of products available and recordation of the documentation. However other states are more loosely regulated. In California for instance, for those mobilehomes and manufactured homes that were not originally installed on a 18551 or 433A foundation, there are a variety of State of California and FHA & HUD certified systems that can be installed expeditiously and cost effectively in order to retrofit a home to meet the lender’s specifications. The systems serve the dual purpose of providing a more secure support system and providing the lender with the assurance that your home and land are conjoined as real property.

In a resident-owned park or on private property, once a permanent foundation system has been installed, the retrofit and 433A> (Title 25 Section: 18551) document convert the home from personal property into real property.  FHA Loans and Reverse Mortgage loans require that the home meet the HUD Handbook, the additional certification of a registered engineer is also commonly required. On The Level General Contractors offers a full-service, turn-key approach to dealing with realtors, lenders, escrow companies, appraisers, home inspectors, and residents of mobile and manufactured homes. We can generally expedite all phases of the retrofit process—from initial inspection and estimate to permitting and final inspection and recordation of any and all related documentation, i.e. 433A’s, as well as acting as a liaison for the Engineer’s Certification if required.

Earthquake Resistant Bracing Systems (ERBS)

The State of California has state certified “Earthquake Resistant Bracing Systems”, rated to protect a manufactured home during a Zone 4 seismic event. In order to qualify as an ERBS, one must secure a permit from the local licensing authority, install a system with a current listing accepted by the State of California and receive final inspection sign-off.A home-owner can select from a wide variety of state-certified systems in order to meet the home’s individual soils environment and his/her pocketbook. ON THE LEVEL provides a seamless work product from permit to issuance of a Certificate of Completion for your insurance company. Insurance companies generally accept the installation of an ERBS for earthquake insurance discounts. It is incumbent upon the contractor to pull a permit and have an inspection on both types of installations.

Engineered Tie-down Systems

All new homes in the State of California are required to have an ETS installed at set-up according to the California Administrative Code, Title 25. There are a number of ETS systems available and it is usually advisable to work with the dealer or home installer at the time of home purchase. If the home is located in a resident-owned park or private property, it is advisable to upgrade the system to a state certified Foundation System.