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US Resiliency Council Update - Outreach Efforts and The USRC Certified Rating

Monday, July 31, 2017  
The following information on recent USRC developments has been authored by Evan Reis, Executive Director of USRC. The opinions in this article are the author’s and this information is being provided with the intent of keeping SEAOC membership apprised of developments of interest to the structural engineering community. 

In most cities, less than 25% of the building stock is built to what engineers would consider “modern” building codes (i.e. mid 1990’s or later). The US Resiliency Council’s “Certified” Rating identifies buildings that meet or exceed current building code standards, differentiating them from the large majority that do not. Certified buildings are expected to perform in a manner that will preserve life safety, limit damage to under 40% of replacement cost, and allow functional recovery within a year of a design level seismic event.

All stakeholders benefit from understanding the performance of buildings in earthquakes and other natural disasters. USRC Rating communicate the expected performance of the building in which we live, work or invest. Owners, tenants, lenders, insurers, governments and institutions use USRC ratings to give them confidence that their rated buildings meet or exceed modern code standards for safety, repair cost and recovery time.

Typically, a new building complying with current codes needs no further enhancement to achieve a USRC Certified Rating. However, achieving this designation can add considerable value to the building. LEED Certified buildings command about 7% higher rents and a 16% higher selling price than similar non-certified buildings. As the building design and construction market moves from a sustainability to a resilience mindset, USRC Certified buildings that incorporate state of the practice structural design features will similarly be more highly valued.

Obtaining a USRC Certified Rating for new, recently constructed, or seismically retrofitted buildings starts with contacting a USRC Certified Rating Professional who assesses the building for compliance with the USRC criteria. For buildings currently in design, the project engineer can become USRC certified and submit a rating request directly.

To learn more about the USRC, its Certified, Platinum, Gold and Silver Ratings check out our newly updated website at The web site now includes links to You Tube videos that provides more details.