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SEAOC Talk - October/November 2017
October/November 2017
Vol. 6, Issue 9

President's Message from Janah Risha
img-270-170It is an honor and a privilege to serve as the President of SEAOC, an organization that I consider to be the crown jewel of the structural engineering profession. SEAOC is the largest and oldest structural engineering association in the world. Its imprint on the way buildings are designed today in California and throughout the world is undeniable. From developing the first seismic codes some 80 years ago to being the standard bearers for structural engineering and seismic safety today, we have, undoubtedly, saved tens of thousands of lives worldwide. And of that, we should be very proud. We should also be proud of what the four member organizations have achieved. We have done so much; and there is still much more to be done, especially at a time when we have to compete for exposure, relevance and resources.
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SEAOC Supports Fire Relief Efforts

By Janah Risha, PE, SE, F. ASCE, SEAOC Board President
and Taryn Williams, SE, SEAONC Board President


The recent devastating fires in Northern California remind us, once again, that the power of nature can be staggering. The Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC) extends its deepest sympathies to all those affected by the disastrous fires in Sonoma, Napa, and surrounding seven counties. The loss of life is saddening and the extent to which residences and businesses were lost is overwhelming. Whether as part of the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) response or by providing design services during recovery, the structural engineering community and SEAOC stand ready to assist the rebuilding effort.

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SEAOC SEMINARS: TBI Guidelines for Performance-Based Seismic Design of Tall Buildings, Version 2.02

The first live offering of this seminar on Oct. 24 in San Francisco was a sold-out success, and featured remote broadcasts to Sacramento and San Diego. Register now for the next live session on Nov. 28 in Los Angeles. 


Presenters highlight revisions incorporated into the just published Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Report No. 2017/06: “Guidelines for Performance-Based Seismic Design of Tall Buildings, Version 2.02,” prepared by a TBI Working Group led by co-chairs Ron Hamburger and Jack Moehle. These guidelines 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). Learn more.

Register Now for Los Angeles


28 years of Experience, 18 hours of Engineering, and a Good Night's Sleep: Personal Reflections on the Reconnaissance in Mexico City
By Kenneth O'Dell, S.E. (SEAOSC)


While 28 years of practicing the art and science of Structural Engineering is not that significant, when compared to the statesmen and women of our Association, it has begun to afford me the opportunity to share my “grey hair” with others. Insight into the profession of Structural Engineering comes in many ways to those who choose to keep an open mind, and from that insight, wisdom is hopefully gained. On a recent trip to Mexico City, as part of SEAOSC’s Safer Cities Reconnaissance Team (, I had the opportunity to solidify a thought that has been stirring around in my brain for several years now.

That is…Structural Engineering is not about the Structure. 

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Non-ductile Concrete Partially Collapsed Structure on Verge of Total Collapse, Threatening Adjacent Residence. (Photo: Degenkolb Engineers)

San Diego Engineers Respond to Mexico Quake

Engineers with the Structural Engineers Association of San Diego (SEAOSD) have recently returned from Mexico City after performing post-earthquake reconnaissance activities.  These activities included: working with the local civil engineering professional association, El Colegio de Ingenieros Civiles de Mexico (CICM) and assisting with the evaluation and assessment of existing damaged buildings, investigating the performance of previously retrofitted buildings, and studying the seismic performance of buildings that are similar to the building stock in the San Diego region.


The Sept. 19 magnitude 7.1 earthquake, which struck the Central Mexico region, resulted in 369 confirmed deaths, approximately 40 collapsed buildings, and hundreds if not thousands of damaged buildings and structures.

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SEAOC Wind Design for Solar Arrays PV2-2017 is Now Available
The SEAOC Wind Committee and SEAOC Solar Photovoltaic Systems Sub-Committee are pleased to announce the publication of their report PV2-2017 “Wind Design for Solar Arrays.” The 2017 edition is an update to the Committee’s 2012 report on this topic, which formed the basis for new design provisions in ASCE 7‑16. PV2-2017 references the ASCE 7‑16 provisions, incorporates knowledge from research since 2012, and provides background and recommendations beyond those in ASCE 7‑16.
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SEAONC's SE3 Releases New Promotional Video
The Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity (SE3) Project was established in 2015 with the mission to study and work to improve engagement and equity in the structural engineering profession. The SE3 Project is a committee within the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC) whose mission is to study engagement and equity in the structural engineering profession in order to provide meaningful input on improving both of these metrics within the industry. The SE3 Project aims to advance the profession by engaging all structural engineers regardless of gender, age, experience, job title, firm size, or location. We are currently expanding to the national level, and have affiliated groups in several major metropolitan areas. Check out this video to learn more about us!
Watch the Video Now

Structural Engineering Society of New Zealand (SESOC) honoring Nigel Priestly

SESOC President Jason Ingham was one of the speakers invited to present at a special Technical Session in La Jolla on Sunday November 5, 2017, hosted by The Masonry Society (TMS) to honour Dr. M. J. Nigel Priestley, Emeritus Professor of Structural Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. Professor Jason Ingham is Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and was a postgraduate student of Professor Priestley at UCSD from 1990-1995. Other international invited guests include Professor Guido Magenes from the University of Pavia, Italy and Professor Katrin Beyer from EPFL in Switzerland. Other former students of Professor Priestley now resident in the US will also make presentations.

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Upcoming Events

Nov. 14 - SEAONC Community Outreach Night & November Monthly Meeting


Nov. 14 - SEAOCC Membership Meeting Student Night


Nov. 14 - SEAOSD Member Dinner


Nov. 16 - SEAOSC Building Codes and Standards Meeting


 Nov. 16 - SEAONC Fall Seminar: What's New in Old Buildings: Updates to ASCE 41-17

 Nov. 28 - SEAOC Seminars: TBI Guidelines for Performance-Based Seismic Design of Tall Buildings, Version 2.02


Nov. 28 - SEAONC November South Bay Dinner Meeting


Dec. 5 - SEAONC December Seminar


Dec. 6 - SEAOSC Annual Holiday Event


Dec. 7 - SEAONC Business Forum Project Management Series


SEAOC 2017 Convention Proceedings
The Proceedings contain the following unedited papers presented by the authors at the 2017 SEAOC Convention on September 12-15 in San Diego, CA. Click below for a list of included topics as well as to download for FREE as a member of SEAOC. 
Download Now

Reminder: Structural Plan Review Filing Fee Increase

The Division of the State Architect’s (DSA’s) structural plan review filing fees for K-12 and community college projects have increased for projects submitted on or after Oct. 1, 2017. The new structural fee, resulting from the California Budget Act trailer bill language for 2017 (Chapter 19, Statutes of 2017, AB 111 - Assembly Budget Committee), is calculated as follows: 1.25 percent of the estimated project cost for the first $1 million, and 1.0 percent of the estimated project cost for all costs in excess of $1 million. The change is to the structural plan review fee only; DSA plan review fees for access compliance, fire and life safety, and essential services buildings are not changed. The Plan/Field Review Fee Calculator and fees and time required webpage are updated and reflect the upcoming increase. Please direct any questions to

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