Earthquake resistant building design codes and safety standards: The California experience

Abstract

Seismologists and earthquake engineers have sought to understand and predict earthquakes and to develop better building designs to withstand them for well over a century. In the United States, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake provided the first real impetus for establishing building design codes and safety standards. Subsequent major California earthquakes in Santa Barbara (1925), Long Beach (1933), San Fernando (1971), Loma Prieta (1989), and Northridge (1994) each led to additional seismological understanding and engineering response in the form of enhanced building design codes. Nonetheless, the process to incorporate good seismic design and mitigation efforts has been slow, and by no means failsafe, especially in the Eastern U.S. where much of the building stock predates more recent design codes, and hence where a major earthquake could collapse large numbers of buildings. Even in the absence of catastrophe, it is still important to guard against a false sense of security.

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Cutcliffe, S.H. Earthquake resistant building design codes and safety standards: The California experience. GeoJournal 51, 259–262 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1017566714380

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  • building design codes
  • earthquake engineering
  • Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
  • Northridge
  • Calif. earthquake (1994)
  • San Fernando
  • Calif. earthquake (1971)
  • San Francisco earthquake (1906)
  • seismology
  • Structural Engineers Association of California