Applied Technology Council (ATC) with Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC)
has been and will be holding Regional Training Seminars entitled "NEHRP
Guidelines for the Seismic Rehabilitation of Buildings (FEMA 273) in many US
cities. I do not know the exact number of engineers and others who have
attended these Seminars, but by the time these Seminars are completed, it is
reasonable to assume that over 1,000 engineers will have attended them. An
important part of these Seminars discusses "Performance Based Seismic Design"
with seismic rehabilitation objectives of "Immediate Occupancy", "Damage
Control", "Life Safety", "Collapse Prevention", etc.
My concern tonight is whether or not the SEAINT List Server is reaching some
of these over 1,000 engineers and others, who will have attended these
ATC/BSSC Seminars. The fact that they took two days of their valuable time
to attend these Seminars indicates to me that they represent a group of
engineers and others who are trying to keep up the latest developments in
earthquake engineering and SEAINT List Server should be trying to reach them
because SEAINT would benefit from their input.
I do not see discussions of FEMA 273, FEMA 310 and similar Performance Based
Seismic Design guidelines and "prestandards" posted on the SEAINT List
Based on my experience as a "Peer Reviewer" for three case studies in the
BSSC Case Studies Project, which applies and tests the FEMA 273 Guidelines
to real buildings, at least two out of my three case studies Design firms
expressed in their case studies reports that they felt that the FEMA 273
Guidelines methodology would someday be the basis of the seismic building
code provisions in the United States.
On June 3, 1999, I posted "And the Buildings Will Not Even Catch a Cold" -
Performance Based Seismic Design" and on June 5, 1999, I posted "Prescribe
"Immediate Occupancy" for your FEMA 310 and 273 Evaluations and
Rehabilitation's and Your Buildings will not even Catch a Cold." I thought
that these postings to the SEAINT List Server would attract at least a few
remarks and thoughtful replies from engineers who are interested in
Performance Based Seismic Designs. As of
nearly midnight on June 6, 1999, NO REPLIES!
Can SEAINT List Server claim to represent the broad cross-section of the
structural engineering design profession when there are no discussions of
other important structural engineering issues on SEAINT?
I have followed FEMA 273 since it conception and served on the FEMA 273,
Chapter 11, Non-structural, "Architectural, Mechanical, and Electrical
Components" team, which produced the one Chapter in FEMA 273 that has had the
fewest critical comments as compared with the other FEMA 273 Chapters.
It will come as no surprise to the members of the SEAINT List Server that I
have serious concerns about FEMA 273, particularly the inadequate provisions
in FEMA 273, Section 2.11.4, Overturning. These inadequate overturning
provisions in FEMA 273 are "handed down " to FEMA 310, A Prestandard (what
ever that means) and the proposed ASCE/FEMA 273, which is now going through
the ASCE Standards processes.
In recent months, the SEAINT List Server has been filled with discussions of
"rigid" vs. "flexible" wood diaphragms and other issues related to the
interpretation of the 1995 and 1997 Uniform Building Codes, and 1997 NEHRP
In my judgment, by neglecting to even look at and discuss the obvious
inadequacies in FEMA 273, the SEAINT has been and continues to "look at the
gnats (small biting flying insects) while the unherded elephants run by."
If you like the 1997 Uniform Building Code or the 1997 NEHRP Provisions, you
will love FEMA 273 and FEMA 310.
I will not live to see the FEMA 273 methodology implemented into the future
building codes. Maybe by then someone will remember that an old engineer,
Frank McClure, "sleepless" in Orinda, CA told us that the "bridge is out and
the train is coming."
Like medical doctors, prescribe and provide treatment for your buildings to
recover to "Immediate Occupancy" health and these buildings will not even
catch a cold so the FEMA 273 and 310 medical books would have you believe.
Frank E. McClure FEMCCLURE(--nospam--at)aol.com June 7, 1999