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FEMA/SAC Guidelines Available

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency and The SAC Joint Venture are pleased to
announce the publication of four new publications:

 FEMA 350 ? Recommended Seismic Design Criteria for New Steel
Moment-Frame Buildings
 FEMA 351 ? Recommended Seismic Evaluation and Upgrade Criteria for
Existing Welded Steel Moment-Frame Buildings
 FEMA 352 ? Recommended Postearthquake Evaluation and Repair Criteria
for Welded Steel Moment-Frame Buildings
 FEMA 353  - Recommended Specifications and Quality Assurance Guidelines
for Steel Moment-Frame Construction for Seismic Applications

These documents present findings and design recommendations based on more than
six years of intensive study of the behavior of moment-resisting steel frames in
earthquakes.  It is anticipated that many of the recommendations in these
documents will be adopted into the AISC design specifications, AWS welding code
and the International Building Code.  Perhaps of most interest to practicing
engineers, FEMA 350 contains a series of prequalified connection details. When
used within the limits specified, and designed and detailed as prescribed in
FEMA 350, it is intended that these prequalified details meet all requirements
of 1997 UBC Chapter 22, Div. IV, 7.2.c-2;  UBC Chapter 22, Div. V, 2213.7.1.1
and the AISC Seismic Provisions Section 9.2; all of which require testing of
connections to demonstrate their adequacy; without the need to perform further

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will distribute these volumes to all
SEAOC members, as well as to members of other SEAs in the Western United States.
These volumes can also be obtained, free of charge, from FEMA by calling
1-800-480-2520.  Please do not call for these documents if you are an SEA
member, as this will result in you receiving duplicate copies.

Important Warning.  Users of these documents should be aware that some of the
prequalified connections include a requirement for specific detailing of the
weld access hole in beam webs, at beam flange to column flange welds.  Seismic
Structural Design Associates, Inc. (SSDA) has indicated a belief that this weld
access hole detailing is in violation of their U.S. Patent No. 5,680,738.  The
United States Department of Justice has issued a finding that there is no such
violation.  Until actual litigation on this issue proceeds, and a court
determination is made, the matter remains in question. Users of the documents
should be aware that specification of the prequalified details on project
documents with the recommended weld access holes could result in litigation.

The SAC project team recommends the following modifications to the
prequalifications contained in FEMA 350, for those cases where the recommended
weld access hole is not used:
 Reduced Beam Section (RBS) Connections ? may be used without the
recommended access hole detailing
 Welded Unreinforced Flange / Bolted Web Connections ? are not
prequalified without the recommended access hole
 Welded Unreinforced Flange / Welded Web Connections ? are prequalified
only for Ordinary Moment Frame service, without the recommended access hole

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