FEMA 178 and FEMA 310 are essentially the same document. FEMA 178 was
updated to more closely correspond to FEMA 273, and the number was
changed to 310. Right now I think FEAM 310 is officially a "pre
As far as using it for the evaluation of existing buildings, there are
good and some not-so-good features of the document. A great deal of
engineering judgment still needs to be used because in my opinion, some
of the result you get are not justifiable. We used it to evaluate many
buildings at a local University, and in most cases, the results made
sense. But there were two buildings in particular that we took
exception to the FEMA 310 findings.
You just have to be able to step back after all the analaysis is done
and see if you have come up with something that is reasonable or not. I
know they are in the process of addressing some of these issues, but in
my opinion it is not yet ready to release as a bullet proof document.
It may have fewer flaws than the 1997 UBC though.
Just my opinion.
> I was recently asked by a building owner in the city of Portland,
> Oregon if the FEMA 310 was now a standard that could be used for the
> evaluation of unreinforced masonry buildings? He had heard about it,
> and was wondering whether to (a) go ahead and ask for FEMA 178
> evaluations; or (b) wait for FEMA 310? Does anybody know what's
> happening with this FEMA 310 document and whether people are happy and
> excited about using it? What's the difference? Is it close to being
> a "standard"? Would appreciate some updated information and feedback
> from those who have been involved in the effort and the methodology.
> Or is this a question I should post to Seismology Committee
> Thanks in advance.
> James Bela
> Oregon Earthquake AwarenessTM / The Quake NorthwestTM
> "We Have Nothing to Fear But Shear Itself" / "We're All
> Subducting In This Together"
> "Do not look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around
> in awareness." -- James Thurber