Adoption and Enforcement of Earthquake Risk-Reduction Measures, PEER Report 1999-04


These combined studies explore the socio-political implications of the seismic provisions of local building codes. Based on results from a national survey of building code officials, these three complementary studies explore (1) making building codes effective tools in earthquake hazard mitigation at the national level (2) the policy challenges of seismic mitigation in the western U.S., and (3) the role of policy entrepreneurs in the adoption of seismic-related provisions by local governments within California.

The conclusions of these studies are diverse, exploring various aspects of the role of federal, state, and local governments in the establishment of seismic provisions of building codes and the enforcement of those provisions. The studies find that the regulatory approaches adopted by federal and state governments are important for understanding local enforcement of building code provisions.

These studies call attention to the role of state requirements and the influence of differing local political and economic contexts in shaping regulatory actions by local governments. The adoption of seismic regulations and priorities for their enforcement by local governments are strongly influenced by state requirements and by the extent of the problem. The adoption of regulations is more responsive to past earthquakes, whereas the enforcement priority that local building departments give to seismic provisions of building codes is more responsive to the extent of the earthquake hazard.

Finally, this research explores the impact of entrepreneurial politics on the regulation of public risks with attention to patterns of entrepreneurial influence in local government within California. In doing so, it lays the groundwork for future efforts to further examine the peculiar contributions of public entrepreneurs to seismic mitigation efforts.

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Peter J. May
T. Jens Feeley
Robert Wood
Raymond J. Burby
Publication date: 
March 1, 1999
Publication type: 
Technical Report
May, P. J., Feeley, T. J., Wood, R., & Burby, R. J. (1999). Adoption and Enforcement of Earthquake Risk-Reduction Measures, PEER Report 1999-04. Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, University of California, Berkeley, CA.