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SEAONC Dinner Meeting on Older Concrete Building Seismic Risk on April 8, 2014

Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC) will host a dinner meeting on Older Concrete Building Seismic Risk on April 8, 2014 in San Francisco.

The presenter will be Jack Moehle, T.Y. and Margaret Lin Professor of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and founding director of PEER.

More information on the meeting and how to register at the SEAONC website.

Abstract: Nonductile concrete buildings pose one of the greatest seismic safety problems in the world. While engineers generally recognize that proactive steps are needed to address the risk posed by these buildings, mitigation efforts are largely stymied by insufficient knowledge about the scale of the problem, insufficient tools to identify the truly dangerous buildings, high costs of strengthening, and owner resistance to pay for strengthening with uncertain benefits. Fortunately, research, engineering development, and public policy efforts are beginning to show signs of progress. This presentation will report on recent developments along each of these three fronts.

The story begins with the inventory projects of EERI’s Concrete Coalition and NSF’s Grand Challenge Project on Nonductile Concrete Buildings. These inventories have provided engineers, public policy makers, and local citizens with data on the number, size, age, occupancy, and ownership of older concrete buildings in California. Knowledge sometimes provokes action, as has happened recently in the City of Los Angeles and nearby jurisdictions.

The next step is to identify the truly dangerous buildings within the inventory. Research and engineering development are making important advances toward that goal. Laboratory studies have identified the most critical component conditions, computer collapse simulations have identified the conditions that create the highest collapse risk, and new engineering assessment tools will soon enable the worst buildings to be identified with minimal computational effort. The presentation will review each of these developments, illustrating the next generation tools for identifying dangerous existing buildings.