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Re: Performance-Based Seismic Design, Potential for Increased Professional Liability

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The New Zealand Building Code is based on performance criteria.

Various codes for loading, materials etc are deemed 'means of compliance'.   

The codes specify minimums for facilities,  usually based on life safety and 
post disaster functionality.  Design is not constrained to code application 
but alternative innovations may be accepted with justification.

Some building owners take the option of design and construction beyond the 
minima.  This is usually to protect very valuable contents (Museum of New 
Zealand - Te Papa) or to ensure business continuity  (telephone, newspaer 
printing),  or to enable post disaster function (Government, emergency 
servies).  For example most base isolation applications have been for more 
than 'minimum' earthquake performance.

It is my opinion that seimic force and dynamic input is less sensitive on 
building earthquake performance than is the structure designed to capacity 
design methods on deformation criteria.  Control of deformations determines 
damge potential, while the capacity design approach enables ultimate 
performance response under 'more intense than design earthquakes'.

Regards, Bruce S 

Bruce Shephard, Principal Consultant Seismic Risk
Opus International Consultants, New Zealand
DD Telephone +64 4 4717597,  Fax +64 4 4711397
Email bruce.shephard(--nospam--at)