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[SEAOC] Re: [SEAOC] [SEAOC] Seismic Evaluation of Residential Buildings

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In a message dated 96-06-03 23:11:14 EDT, you write:

>make a hazard assessment and seismic retrofit recommendations, however
>is any information is commonly provided on if this is an economically
>attractive decision to make? 

I think the economics of it have to be included if the service is to be
worthwhile. The degree of retrofit is usually driven by the cost of the
improved situation (or local legislation).   Most obvious case... full
upgrade beyond the standards of the current codes for new construction...
This option is rarely taken because of the cost versus the reduced risk.  But
an owner must make that decision based on the economics of it.  As engineers,
we want to reduce the risk of loss of life and property as a result of the
forces a building is subjected to but I do not believe that we must take a
stand that all it's all or nothing...   A complete service includes the
options and its costs.   It's like an old engineering economics problem I
did...the recommendation had to be to pay the flood insurance premium and
rebuild after the floods rather than raise the building site or control the
 regular flooding...  It goes against the grain of engineering (which is to
anticipate the problems and solve them) but it was the practical and correct

The most attractive decision is usually one that has the highest rate of
return for the cost.  Foundation bolting is a prime example... While it does
not address many of the potential problems, it is  probably provides the
highest increase in safety for the least amount of money...  Next in line is
probably soft story conditions.. As with any loose thread, you could pull and
unravel the entire building from a lateral standpoint, but somewhere you have
to determine that you are going to stop at a given point... This point is
usually cost driven.

Steve Privett  CE