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Performance-Based Seismic Design, Potent

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The only truly "performance based" design that I am aware of is that 
practiced by the aircraft industry in which an analytical analysis and design 
is made and a prototype built and tested to destruction.  If the tests do not 
produce the desired results, the design is modified, another prototype built 
and tested, etc., until the desired results are obtained.

As I understand the proposed, "performance based design" concept, it will be 
up to the owner to determine the degree of protection/capacity that is to be 
incorporated into his/her design.  While I believe that a man's (or woman's) 
home is his/her castle, I cannot accept that an owner can determine the 
strength of his/her home should be, unless, the owner agrees that no one 
other than adult, competent members of the owner's family be permitted to 
enter the house and that the owner agrees to tear down the house when he/she 
moves out.

Building codes have progressed based on what hasn't worked.  To go to a 
"performance based design" scheme would be to regress 100 years, throwing out 
all that has been learned in the past.

If an owner is permitted to set his/her own design criteria, what need is 
there for building departments?  Every plan could be designed to a different 

Some buzz words sound good, but never really say what they mean.

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona