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Re: Design ground accelerations

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As I remember, the INTENT of the building is to prevent loss of lives with possible
structural damage during a major earthquake, no structural damage but possible
architectural damage during a moderate, and no damage during a minor earthquake.
You might question your soils engineer if this is his intent by their statements.

The 0.6g & 0.8g values sounds like peak acceleration from a seismic spectrum without considerations for ductility.   I believe it is generally considered
uneconomical to design for these peak values.
Good Luck.