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RE: Seismic Design Hypothetical

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Gail (and some others) –


How can you “not do” seismic design??  I have heard that before from others on this list.  Granted I do most of my work on the West coast, but there are pockets of seismically active areas all around the country.  I know there are some in WY and MT.  And especially if you are working on a critical facility that has an Ie = 1.5.


I guess my real question is what you mean when you say, “I don’t have a good feeling for it.”  Do you mean lateral force design in general?  Because EQ design is really not very different than W design…the code allows you to treat them both as *equivalent STATIC lateral forces*.  It’s pretty rare to do a dynamic (modal analysis or wind tunnel modeling) design.


Just curious.


~~ Eli Grassley, PE


-----Original Message-----
From: gskwy(--nospam--at) [mailto:gskwy(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2005 9:37 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Seismic Design Hypothetical


Just to make it clear, I am not looking for specific answers for a specific situation.  It's just kind of a general question.  It has been said (often) that engineers don't get any respect because nobody knows what they do.  And maybe nobody knows what they do because they don't seem to be able to show people.


I don't do seismic design, so I don't have a good feeling for it.  Hence my question.


Admittedly, the situation posed is hypothetical, but most people are faced with dozens of hypotethical, what-if situations each day.  And manage to deal with them.


Say it was an "open" parking garage in DC.  Low seismic.  20 psf wind.  Gravity load would control.  How would the same parking garage in San Francisco look different?


Gail Kelley