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97 Code is a Life Safety Standard

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Section 1626.1 of the 1997 UBC reads as follows:

1626.1 Purpose.  The purpose of the earthquake provisions herein
is primarily to safeguard against major structural failures and loss
of life, not to limit damage or maintain function.

The Codes failure or success should therefore not be judged by the loss
in dollars, but by how well the number of deaths and serious injuries
were limited.