“Codes were devised to protect lives, not property, so they do little to limit the kind of destruction that might make a building uninhabitable for an extended period of time or even necessitate demolition. In fact, recent studies often quoted in engineering circles estimate that code-compliant buildings could suffer two years of downtime after a significant quake,” wrote Joann Gonchar FAIA in Continuing Education: Seismic Design. “Seismic resilience might not be necessary for all buildings, but it is certainly relevant for those that represent a significant investment, house critical business activities, provide essential services, or are important community or cultural assets.”

Structural Focus President David Cocke, SE noted, “more and more of our clients are interested in learning about the options for higher performance of their facilities during a seismic event. In the past, they have often assumed that if a building is designed and constructed to “meet code”, their building is safe and “earthquake proof.” They now understand that the building code contains the “minimum requirements” for a new building and they have the option of constructing a new building that will perform significantly better to resist earthquakes. Life safety is the basic performance level but they should consider the cost of building damage repairs as well as the ability to get back into operation as soon as possible.” Read David’s interview, Earthquakes: Lessons Learned, explaining why being prepared for earthquakes in the future is so important to cities and business owners alike, and how small steps can have a huge impact on getting “Back to Business.”

Read Joann Gonchar’s Continuing Education: Seismic Design full feature in Architectural Record.