Guidelines for Performance-Based Seismic Design of Tall Buildings, Version 2.03, PEER Report 2017-06


These Seismic Design Guidelines for Tall Buildings present a recommended alternative to the prescriptive procedures for seismic design of buildings contained in the ASCE 7 standard and the International Building Code (IBC) . The intended audience includes structural engineers and building officials engaged in seismic design and review of tall buildings. Properly executed, these Guidelines are intended to result in buildings that are capable of reliably achieving the seismic performance objectives intended by ASCE 7, and in some aspects, and where specifically noted, somewhat superior performance to such objectives. Individual users may adapt and modify these Guidelines to serve as the basis for designs intended to achieve higher seismic performance objectives than specifically intended herein.

The Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center published a first edition of these Guidelines in 2010 in response to the growing use of alternative performance-based approaches for seismic design of tall buildings. Major innovations introduced in that volume included: use of Service-Level Earthquake (SLE) shaking to evaluate building response to frequent earthquakes coupled with a specific collapse-resistance evaluation for Maximum Considered Earthquake (MCER) shaking, use of nonlinear dynamic analysis; explicit evaluation of global, system-based performance criteria in addition to individual element or member-based criteria; introduction of the concept of critical and non-critical elements; and explicit evaluation of cladding adequacy for MCER demands.

In the time since the publication of the 2010 Guidelines, the profession has gained substantial experience in application of these techniques to design of buildings around the world, and, in particular, the western United States. Also, the ASCE 7 standard has been amended substantially, in no small part based on influence from the first edition of this document. Additionally, significant advances have been made in nonlinear analytical capability and in defining ground motions for use in nonlinear seismic analysis. Initially, buildings designed using performance-based procedures were assigned to Risk Category II; these buildings were structurally regular and typically utilized concrete core wall systems for lateral resistance. Individual project development teams have extended the use of performance-based seismic design of tall buildings to encompass other structural systems, building complexes that include irregular structures and multiple towers on a single podium, and numerous structures assigned to higher Risk Categories. This second edition addresses lessons learned in application of the first edition on many projects and the conditions, knowledge, and state-of-practice that presently exist.

These Guidelines include the seismic design of structural elements normally assigned as part of the seismic-force-resisting system as well as structural elements whose primary function is to support gravity loads. Except for exterior cladding, design of nonstructural components is not specifically included within the scope of these Guidelines. Design for nonstructural systems should conform to the applicable requirements of the building code or other suitable alternatives that consider the unique response characteristics of tall buildings.

- Tall Buildings, Version 2.03 Report (with hyperlinks)

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Ron Hamburger
Jack Moehle
Jack Baker
Jonathan Bray
C.B. Crouse
Greg Deierlein
John Hooper
Marshall Lew
Joe Maffei
Stephen Mahin
James Malley
Farzad Naeim
Jonathan Stewart
John Wallace
Publication date: 
May 1, 2017
Publication type: 
Technical Report
Hamburger, R., Moehle, J., Baker, J., Bray, J., Crouse, C. B., Deierlein, G., Hooper, J., Lew, M., Maffei, J., Mahin, S., Malley, J., Naeim, F., Stewart, J., & Wallace, J. (2017). Guidelines for Performance-Based Seismic Design of Tall Buildings, Version 2.03, PEER Report 2017-06. Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, University of California, Berkeley, CA.