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RE: Future of the Field Act

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Fred- 

You might want to have the Commission pay particular notice to notifying
school districts with buildings built from 1933 to at least 1937 (there
was a change to the Field Act regulations in 1937 but I was unable to
find out if Appendix A, the actual building code provisions changed in
that edition) and possibly as late as 1941.  During this period, the
lateral force coefficient was only 0.04(DL+ 0.5LL).  In 1941, Appendix A
shows a coefficient of  0.1(DL+0.5LL).  

The only copy of the 1933, 1937 and 1941 regulations I could find is in
the EERC Library at UC's Richmond Field Station.  The 1933 and 1941
copies included Appendix A, the 1937 copy did not.

I found this information during the investigation of the Albany High
School main building (built in 4 phases from 1933 through 1937) and the
gymnasium approved in 1938 (I currently serve on the AUSD Board of
Education).  These structures were located about 4,500 from the Northern
Segment of the Hayward Fault (28% chance of a Magnitude 7.0 event from
1990 through 2020 per the California Working Group on Earthquake
Probabilities).  Observation of the ease with which the demolition
contractor was able to knock the buildings down and the lack of
significant ties between the walls and diaphragms (the 1933 Appendix A
required ties at 18'-0" o.c. which was exactly what I observed during
the demolition) makes these types of buildings a disaster waiting to
happen.  Occupancy of the main building during a typical school period
would have been about 700 students.  Had the building collapsed the way
I think it would have under a likely Hayward M7 event, many of the
students would have died or been seriously injured.  

Bill Cain, SE
Oakland, CA


	-----Original Message-----
	From:	fturner [SMTP:fturner(--nospam--at)quiknet.com]
	Sent:	Thursday, February 11, 1999 16:51 PM
	To:	seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
	Subject:	Future of the Field Act

	FYI, the Ca. Seismic Safety Commission adopted the following
findings and
	recommendations today. It will consider noticing each school
district about
	the need to inventory and assess collapse-risk schools at its
next mtg March
	11.

	The Future of the Field Act for Public Schools (17280 & 81130 et
seq
	Education Code)


	Introduction

	The Field Act was enacted on April 10, 1933, one month after the
Long Beach
	Earthquake in which "70 schools were destroyed, 120 schools
suffered major
	damage, and 300 schools received minor damage."(Meehan and
Jephcott, 1993)

	"Because schools are funded with public money, schools house the
children of
	the electorate, legislative statutes require children to attend
schools, and
	the school buildings performed so poorly in the earthquake, it
was believed
	that the legislators, including the Governor, would support
legislation
	requiring public school buildings to be constructed earthquake
resistive."
	(Meehan and Jephcott 1993 quoting Willett and Durkee, 1957)

	The Field Act and its regulations have been updated many times
since its
	inception. It continues to be one of the most effective
earthquake risk
	reduction measures undertaken by California. The superior
performance of
	public schools in modern earthquakes and their critical role as
disaster
	relief facilities repeatedly demonstrates the Act's
effectiveness.

	In 1976 public schools built before the Field Act were phased
out of use or
	retrofitted to comply with the Act. Private Schools built or
altered after
	1986 must now comply with similar legislation enforced by local
governments.
	(Section 17320 et seq Education Code)

	However, the Field Act - and particularly its 1.5 to 4 percent
construction
	premium [13, 14] and extra time required for compliance - is
perennially
	under criticism by some policymakers, developers and school
officials.
	Furthermore, local government building officials would like to
be allowed
	the opportunity to enforce the Act in a manner similar to
private schools.

	Seismic Safety Commission Efforts to Evaluate the Field Act

	Recognizing the continuing need to reassess and modernize the
Act to include
	advances in social, economic, and technical knowledge, the
California
	Seismic Safety Commission (CSSC) held two public hearings in
1998 to solicit
	advice and recommendations on the future of the Field Act
program. An ad hoc
	committee developed the attached findings and recommendations
based on the
	hearings and Commission discussions.

	Field Act Purpose:

	To protect children and staff from death and injury in public
schools grades
	K - 14
	and protect the public's investment in school buildings during
and after
	earthquakes.

	 Seismic Safety Commission Findings:

	1) It is justifiable to expect K-14 schools to be designed and
built to a
	higher standard for the protection of life and public
investment.

	2) Evidence exists from recent earthquakes such as Northridge,
Landers, and
	Loma Prieta that K-14 facilities perform better than buildings
built to age
	comparable local codes.

	3) Continuous inspection by the inspector of record is a key
element to the
	success of the Field Act.

	4) Field Act authority should remain with the Division of the
State
	Architect (DSA). Local code enforcement agencies should be
allowed to plan
	check public schools if certified and technically supervised by
DSA.

	Seismic Safety Commission Recommendations:

	The CSSC recommends that the following be implemented by
legislative,
	regulatory and administrative changes (no priority has been set
at this
	time):

	a) Identify older Field Act Schools that are at risk of collapse
if
	subjected to strong earthquake shaking. These are schools built
to outdated
	seismic design standards, or with deterioration or modifications
that
	compromise their seismic resistance. School districts should be
required to
	identify, retrofit or phase out of use structures that pose
significant
	risks to life in accordance with DSA guidelines and procedures.

	b) Grant stop-work authority to DSA to ensure effective code
enforcement for
	all public school construction.

	c) Grant red tag authority to DSA for rapid post-disaster damage
assessment,
	emergency management and recovery.

	d) Require complete code enforcement for mechanical, electrical,
plumbing
	and architectural systems in new public school construction as
currently
	required by the model codes for all other occupancies. This
could perhaps be
	accomplished in cooperation with local building departments.

	e) Eliminate Field Act exemptions for charter schools and
exemptions for
	small modernization projects currently allowed by the Field Act.

	f) Require all school districts to evaluate nonstructural
elements and abate
	unacceptable falling risks when undertaking major alterations,
additions,
	renovations, or repairs, or in any event, no later than 2010.
Require DSA to
	adopt mandatory retrofit standards for nonstructural falling
risks. Train
	personnel at every school district facilities office to
recognize and abate
	nonstructural risks.

	g) Implement effective maintenance programs within each school
district to
	mitigate dryrot, roof leakage, and other serious maintenance
needs that
	reduce seismic integrity. Require building evaluations of each
school by an
	architect or structural engineer at least every 10 years.

	h) Require DSA to evaluate in a timely manner the qualifications
of any
	local agency desiring to plan check public schools, and, if they
are
	qualified, to supervise them in the same manner as outside
consulting
	engineers are presently supervised.

	i) Strengthen the Private Schools Seismic Safety Act of 1986
(Section 17320
	et seq Education Code) to eliminate exemptions, publish
regulations in the
	California Building Code and require compliance by new day care
facilities.

	j) Support benefit/cost studies to evaluate the effectiveness of
higher
	construction costs for public school buildings as identified in
the 1992
	Little Hoover Commission's Report titled "No Room for Johnny".