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RE: Earthquake-Proof Design

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BTW, as the Architect,  “no preference”  is what I’m waiting to hear.  What I’m trying to do here is discover if I should even worry about this given the proximity and scale of the danger or just merrily design away with prudent regard for the danger and then just dump it into the lap of the SE and tell him to shut up and, oh, BTW, you need to finish the work by Tuesday (as usual)…


From: Donald Bruckman [mailto:bruckmandesign(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 1:04 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Earthquake-Proof Design


So, if I offered up various design options, you wouldn’t lean one way or the other?  


Is this a purely calc and detail oriented discussion? 


Is there is no evidence that, for instance, if you were presented a plywood shear wall solution calc’d to withstand the same load as a steel Xbrace solution, that you would have no preference?

From: Bill Allen [mailto:T.W.Allen(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 10:55 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Earthquake-Proof Design


IOW, there is no such thing as “earthquake-proof”.


T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E.


Consulting Structural Engineers
V (949) 248-8588 F(949) 209-2509

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Gordin [mailto:sgordin(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 10:46 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Earthquake-Proof Design



Single- or two story "spread" conventional residential buildings generally perform well. 
However, in the close proximity to a dangerous fault all bets are off. 
Assume, that  the fault  fissure surfaces right under  the house (I saw it myself after Northridge), and then there is a 12" slip (IIRC, 20' slips were recored along San Andreas in 1906).  

IMHO, any money cannot really minimize risk in this situation.  Put a BIG disclamer on your plans...
You may also suggest your client to read the property owner's manual "Peace of Mind in Earthquake Country" by Peter Yanev. It makes nice (kinda) reading, and not only for lay people.

V. Steve Gordin, Ph.D.
Structural & Civil Engineer
Irvine CA

On 11/2/07, Donald Bruckman < bruckmandesign(--nospam--at)> wrote:

Listen, you clowns…I leave town for one day and come back to 93 messages about just about everything BUT engineering.  So, either I start a thread lambasting Prof. Astenah's cheesy, stinkin' football team and how we Trojans will be up there soon to kick Bear, OR I will start a new thread about EQ design.


I'll start with that and see if it morphs into a football board.


I have a client that bought a piece of land in North LA County.  I've been to the site and it's a really pretty, sort of bucolic little area full of chaparral and butterflies.  Unfortunately, it also has, about a 3 wood away, the grinding fury of two continental tectonic plates sliding by each other. I think they call it The San Andreas Fault.


So, after the preliminary discussion wherein I say, "There is no such thing as an earthquake-proof building…blah blah blah…", we got serious and he and I agreed that I would try to get as close as I could by affecting the design in such a way that the threat could be minimized.


So, with that in mind, I told him, for instance:  Tall building?   Not so much….Irregular building with re-entrant corners….not so much….Now, more broadly, the question for the board:


What are the other various strategies that would minimize the risk?