Societal Implications of Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering, PEER Report 2006-12


This report considers various aspects of the societal implications of performance-based approaches to earthquake engineering. The societal benefits can generally be characterized as the “value added” of performance information in enhancing seismic design and risk management. The realization of these benefits rests on widesp read adoption of perfor mance-based approaches in engineering practice. At present, this is somewhat limited. Several future scenarios are considered that may result from changes in code provisions or from changes in societal perspectives about seismic safety. The challe nge for regulatory officials is to establish meaningful seismic-safety standards given shif ts in societal expect ations about seismic performance. Broader changes in societal persp ectives about seismic safety require not only greater societal awarene ss of earthquake risks and their consequences but also a transformation of the way that building owners, developers, fi nancial entities, and the design community think about seismic safety. This transformation is akin to that achieved in the green-building movement in response to what is perceived as a societal need for healthful, more energy- efficient, and less costly to operate buildings. Seismic safety has yet to achieve a similar status of engendering a common concern. This may be in part because the societal benefits of performance-based seismic engineering are not well articulated or recognized.

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Peter J. May
Publication date: 
November 4, 2006
Publication type: 
Technical Report
May, P. J. (2006). Societal Implications of Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering, PEER Report 2006-12. Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, University of California, Berkeley, CA.