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SEAOC Talk - January 2018
January 2018
Vol. 7, Issue 1

SEAOC DIRECTORS and seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones (front left) on Friday discussed proposed legislation, AB 1857 (Nazarian), that would require new buildings in California to be designed for higher performance. Following the recommendations of SEAOC’s Legislative Committee, the SEAOC Board adopted an initial Support If Amended position on the bill.   SEAOC Board President Janah Risha (front right) presided over the Burbank meeting, which included President-Elect Joyce Fuss, Past President Chris Kamp, SEAOCC directors Todd Kemen and Darron Huntingdale, SEAONC directors Taryn Williams, Tim Hart and Dick Dreyer, SEAOSC Directors Bob Lyons, Mehran Pourzanjani and Jeff Ellis, SEAOSD directors Curtis Patterson and Michael Braund, Legislative Chair Ryan Kersting, Licensure Chair Carl Josephson, NCSEA Delegate Norm Scheel, NCSEA President Bill Warren, and Executive Director Don Schinske. 


Seismic Design Map Tool

By Ali Sumer, Ph.D., S.E.


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is planning to phase out their web tool for finding seismic design variables this April. The background data will still be accessible at the USGS website, but there will be no interface website.

SEAOCC and OSHPD have developed a website interface that will be able to query the USGS web servers and retrieve the seismic design variable in a report format. The Seismic Design Map Tool is currently in the Beta stage, and is now available to SEAOC members.

We would really like to hear from you regarding improvements and/or suggestions. Please reply to with your input as soon as possible as the testing will be complete in a month or so.

The website currently provides ASCE 7-16, ASCE 7-10, ASCE 41-13, ASCE 41-17, IBC 2015, IBC 2012, NEHRP-2015, and NEHRP 2009 seismic design map data. We will add more reference documents to the website as USGS adds more to their server. Another nice feature is that the tool has the capability of not only desktop access, but also compatible with Android and iOS mobile phones.

SEAOCC and OSHPD recognized the need to maintain the Seismic Design Map Tool and to further develop the website interface so it could be used by the Structural Engineering profession. This will be a free Seismic Design Tool for SEAOC members, non-members, industry partners, and the public.

View the Seismic Design Map Tool

Seismology Committee Works to Update SEAOC Blue Book

By Jesse Karns, S.E., Committee Chair

The Seismology Committee is a technical committee that supports the activities of the Structural Standards Committee. Specifically, in assisting in those activities related to the provisions of building codes and national standards related to design, materials and construction requirements associated with seismic resistance and performance of new construction. In essence, the Seismology Committee is here to help engineers with seismic design issues for new construction. This can include developing a position on a difficult code interpretation problem, authoring a code change proposal, or assisting the SEAOC Board in developing a position on proposed legislation by providing background on technical merits of such.
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SEAOC Forms Resilience Committee

By Josh Gebelein, S.E., Committee Chair

The newly formed SEAOC Resilience committee is off to a strong start, and there always seems to be something new and exciting to debate and collaborate on.  You may have noticed the recent trendiness of “Resilience”, the task of our committee is to take this important topic and bring it to actionable form for our members.  We presented a working group paper at the SEAOC Convention last Fall that was intended to get the discussion going in earnest.  Many of our members and collaborating groups have been hard at work on important papers and our committee plans to help bring the most useful resources to light for our membership.

Some our current activities include research and development on the following topics:

  • Defining the role of a Structural Engineer in Resilience of buildings and infrastructure.
  • Definition of Resilience.
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SEAOC Professional Practice Committee Update

By Mark Gilligan, S.E., Committee Chair

SEAOC has reconstituted the SEAOC Professional Practice Committee.  The Professional Practice committee’s purpose is to advocate for our members on professional practice issues and to provide a forum to address professional practice issues related to the practice of structural engineering. 

The Professional Practice Committee is updating the SEAOC “Recommended Guidelines for the Practice of Structural Engineering in California”.  Some of the changes will include addressing scope of services on sustainability and BIM.  The committee is also developing recommendations regarding to the use of electronic stamps and signatures on documents.

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Regional Update from Southern California

By Bob Lyons, S.E., SEAOSC President


SEAOSC closed out the year in 2017 with a smash-hit Holiday Party held at Parker’s Lighthouse in Long Beach, across the harbor from the Queen Mary. This annual party was enjoyed by all, with positive feedback on the venue and ambiance of Parker’s Lighthouse. The photographer once again this year was our very own member SE Dean Reyes. View photos here. We wish to recognize CSI for a very generous contribution that helped keep prices down, especially for our younger members. Thank you CSI for your support of this event and support for the engineering profession in general.


Hitting the ground running in 2018, we hosted a joint SEAOSC/AIA dinner meeting on Jan. 10, featuring an inside look at the Disney theme park design process, how these unique structures came to be, and highlighted lessons learned that can be applied by creative design teams to enhance the aesthetic of any project. The presenter was Kent R. Estes, Principal Structural Engineer from Walt Disney Imagineering. This event had about 150 registrations and based on an informal survey following the presentation, and as evidenced by lengthy post presentation informal discussions, everyone found the presentation interesting and engaging. 

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Call for Papers - 2018 SEAOC Convention
The Structural Engineers Association of California issues this Call for Papers to be presented at the 2018 Annual Convention to be held at the JW Marriott Spa and Resort in Palm Desert, California, September 12-14, 2018. 

The main theme of "Innovation & Resilience: Strengthening the Past, Building the Future" has been chosen for the Technical Program. The emphasis is on resiliency and structural design of buildings and other structures for both new building design as well as retrofit of existing buildings for natural hazards. Subject areas include but are not limited to:


  • Building codes and standards
  • Cities and Politics (city ordinances, future codes/legislation, etc.)
  • Healthcare
  • Business and Economic Impacts
  • Legal
  • Use of Innovation for better resilience (base isolation, dampers, BRB's, etc.)


Papers presented at the SEAOC Convention will be published in the 2018 SEAOC PROCEEDINGS. All speakers presenting papers at the convention are expected to use commercially available computer presentation software.

Interested parties should submit brief abstracts (300 words or fewer) of their papers on or before March 16, 2018 via the Call for Abstracts form by clicking below.

Submit An Abstract


DSA 20/20: Focus on the Future Events

The Division of the State Architect (DSA) 20/20: Focus on the Future outreach events will not only address improving efficiency with DSA plan review, but also provide opportunities to discuss the state’s entire school construction process and future trends and methods of school construction. 

With rapidly escalating construction costs, it is imperative we make the school construction process as efficient as possible. These events provide a forum to discuss and exchange information and ideas that will improve project delivery. 

Information from the various sessions will be very beneficial for all levels of stakeholders ranging from school district executives and design firm principals to working level construction and administrative staff.


  • February 1, 2018 – Bakersfield
  • February 8, 2018 - Los Angeles
  • February 15, 2018 - Oakland
  • March 6, 2018 - Sacramento
  • March 13, 2018 – San Diego
Learn More and Register


Upcoming Events

Jan. 23 - SEAOSC Webinar: Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel: Categorized by Design


Jan. 31 - SEAONC Business Forum: Keeping Your Projects Under Budget Every Time


Feb. 2 - SEAOSC Winter Education Event


Feb. 7 - SEAOSC Annual Job Fair & Student Scholarships Awards Night


Feb. 8 - SEAOSD YMF Meeting


Feb. 18-24 - DiscoverE Engineers Week!

Feb. 20 - SEAOSD Student Night Presented by CSI


Feb. 21 & 28 - SEAONC Spring Seminar - The 15th Edition of the AISC Steel Construction Manual, the 2016 Specification for Structural Steel Buildings, and the 3rd Edition of the Seismic Design Manual


Feb. 22-23 - Cal Poly Symposium on Resilient Design: State of the Art & Emerging Issues for the Built Environment


March 7 - SEAOSC LA Dinner Event


March 13 - SEAOSD & ACI San Diego Joint Luncheon: “ACI Reference Specifications: Unraveling Concrete Specs


 2015 IBC SEAOC Structural/Seismic Design Manual Volumes 1-3

The 2015 IBC SEAOC Structural/Seismic Design Manual provides a step-by-step approach to applying the structural provisions of the 2015 International Building Code and referenced standards.

This collection of the IBC SEAOC Structural/Seismic Design Manual contains the following:


  • Volume 1: Code Application Examples
  • Volume 2: Examples for Light-Frame, Tilt-Up and Masonry Buildings
  • Volume 3: Examples for Concrete Buildings


SEAOC members save 20% when they use the ICC discount link.

Learn More and Order Now


Useful Links
Contact Us

Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC)
921 11th St, Ste. 1100 • Sacramento, CA  95814
p (916) 447-1198 • f (916) 444-1501 •