Tall Buildings Initiative


The turn of the last century saw a surge in the construction of high-rise buildings. The surge created a demand for performance-based approaches to enable construction using new framing systems rising to heights outside the range of building code prescriptive provisions. The Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) responded to this need by leading an initiative to develop design criteria that will ensure safe and usable tall buildings following future earthquakes. Download the primary product of this initiative: Guidelines for Performance-Based Seismic Design of Tall Buildings.

Collectively known as the Tall Buildings Initiative, this project involves the Applied Technology Council, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, Los Angeles Tall Buildings Structural Design Council, California Seismic Safety Commission, San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, Southern California Earthquake Center, Structural Engineers Association of California, U.S. Geological Survey, PEER, and several practicing professionals.

The initiative funded a range of projects. Specific tasks for this initiative are:

story momentThe later tasks will synthesize results of the earlier tasks to develop a framework for seismic design of tall buildings, summarized in a final Guidelines document containing principles and specific criteria for tall building seismic design. The document is intended to support ongoing guidelines and code-writing activities of collaborating organizations, as well as being a stand-alone reference for designers of high-rise buildings.

Tall building webcamThe initiative is guided by a Project Advisory Committee comprising:
Norm Abrahamson, Yousef Bozorgnia, Ron Hamburger, Helmut Krawinkler, Marshall Lew, Ray Lui, Jack Moehle, Nic Rodriguez , Farzad Naeim, and Paul Somerville.

Broader community engagement will be achieved through a series of regular workshops and other outreach activities.

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