Mandatory (Soft Story) Seismic Screening Ordinance - FAQs

If you have any further questions please contact Gary Nordahl, Chief Building Official at

See below for a list of frequently asked questions:

This ordinance shall apply to buildings of two or more stories constructed or permitted for construction before January 1, 1979 or designed based on an adopted version of the 1976 or earlier edition of the Uniform Building Code and that contain three or more dwelling units.

Subject buildings of 5 or more dwelling units will have until October 30, 2020, buildings containing fewer than 5 dwelling units will need to submit the screening form by April 30, 2021.

A comprehensive technical bulletin regarding this process will be made available online by mid-September of this year.

Yes, a licensed architect or engineer will be required to complete certain parts of the screening form.

Formal notices will be mailed to the owners of potential Soft Story buildings by October 30, 2019. Buildings were selected using census tract data from the Alameda County Assessor’s Office.

Yes, an authorized agent will be allowed to complete the screening form in the owner’s behalf.

There are a few paths an owner can take to remove their property from the Hayward Soft Story registry:


  1. If the building does not meet the criteria for age, number of units, or number of stories the building would be exempt. The owner will be allowed to submit this information without the need for a licensed architect or engineer.
  2. Engineering evaluation confirming that the building does not qualify as “Soft Story” based on the structural guidelines to be established by ordinance, (HMC) Chapter 9 Article 7.
  3. The building has been voluntarily seismically retrofitted meeting the structural guidelines of ordinance (HMC) Chapter 9 Article 7.