Alaska News

Guidance for homeowners who need help assessing earthquake damage

Property owners around Anchorage and the Mat-Su Borough have been cleaning up messes and assessing damage after Friday’s 7.0 earthquake.

How do you know if your home was seriously damaged? Here’s a guide:

• Cracks in sheetrock, or even in concrete, are not necessarily a reason to worry. Sheetrock is not a structural part of the house.

• If you can look through a crack and see daylight, that may be a sign of a bigger problem.

• Watch out for things that have moved out of place, like a wall or a foundation. A wall that has moved a few inches is not a good sign. Check to see if the house looks tilted, or no longer square.

[Here’s how to apply for a disaster recovery grant for earthquake damage]

[List: Structural engineers trained on post-earthquake inspections in Southcentral Alaska]

For homeowners who suspect serious damage, Ross Noffsinger, the acting Anchorage building official, has these tips on how to proceed:

If you live within the Anchorage building safety service area, which does not include Chugiak-Eagle River: Start with a legitimate, licensed, bonded and insured contractor. You can also consult with home inspectors or structural engineers. Ask around, search online or use, a free online resource. Or, call the city’s building safety department and make a service request.

If you have structural damage, a building permit will be necessary to make repairs. The permit will involve a detailed municipal plan review and an inspection.

If you’re outside of Anchorage’s building safety service area:

• Consult with home inspectors or a structural engineer.

• Hire a reputable contractor to make any necessary repairs.