Wood-Frame Soft-Story Structures

The city of Burbank has established a voluntary program for the retrofit of existing wood frame residential buildings with soft, weak, or open front walls. The Burbank Municipal Code Title 9, Chapter 1, Article 7, Division 4 requires that Chapter A4 of the 2012 International Existing Building Code (IEBC) be followed as part of this voluntary effort.


Burbank’s voluntary wood-frame soft-story program applies to existing buildings that have the following characteristics:

  • Wood-frame construction
  • Two or more stories
  • Occupants are transient in nature (IEBC, R-1) or contain more than two dwelling units for more permanent occupants (IEBC, R-2)
  • Ground floor contains parking or similar open space containing soft, weak or open-front wall lines; or the walls of any story or basement are laterally braced with nonconforming structural material and a soft or weak wall line exists


The city of Burbank established this ordinance with compliance on a voluntary basis. Therefore, there are no deadlines for conformance. However, it is recommended that the provisions outlined in the municipal code be followed on a timely basis to promote public welfare and safety by reducing earthquake-related damage of buildings of wood-frame soft-story construction.



Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
Phone: 626.696.4650
E-mail: seismicordinances@wje.com

Burbank Building Division
150 N. Third Street, Burbank, CA 91502
Phone: 818.238.5220