The Role of Seismic Standards in Mitigating Risk and Enabling Functional Recovery

Building codes broadly are recognized as playing an essential role in protecting life safety and reducing property damage in earthquakes. Under the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), 4 federal agencies (NIST, FEMA, USGS, and NSF) continue to support the advancement of our nation’s seismic codes and standards for buildings. 

This session will address the role of NEHRP in encouraging public and private partnership, translating research into practice, and introducing practical technical solutions in seismic design and construction. Speakers will discuss the intent of the seismic provisions, including the expected level of protection inherent in the provisions in terms of occupant safety and physical damage. At the time of the presentation, the 2020 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures essentially will be complete. The speakers will provide an overview of important changes, including an update on ground-motion requirements, new structural systems, and nonstructural component design. More importantly for this session, there will be a discussion of the current and future direction of the provisions relative to functional recovery, a key aspect of community resilience. 

Attendees will be informed of the ongoing NIST-FEMA efforts related to the 2018 NEHRP reauthorization, which specifically includes the consideration of community resilience through building codes and standards. This information is aimed at encouraging engineers and architects to bring building codes into their conversations with clients and building owners and to engage in dialogue regarding the relationship between code compliant design, community risk tolerance, and business continuity.


03:45 PM - 04:30 PM
7 April 2020


Mai Tong
Senior Physical Scientist, FEMA Building Science Branch
David Bonneville
Senior Principal, Degenkolb Engineers
Steve McCabe
NEHRP Director
Jiqiu Yuan
Executive Director, Multi-Hazard Mitigation & Building Seismic Safety Council, National Institute of Building Sciences