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News: SEAOC News

A message from SEAOC President Janah Risha

Wednesday, December 20, 2017  

As the year draws to a close, it is only fitting that we look at SEAOC’s achievements throughout 2017.  Your association, thanks to its steadfast volunteers and dedicated staff, has been quite prolific.  Here are the highlights of what proved to be a great year for SEAOC and the structural engineering profession.

January and February

SEAOC offered a well-received series of seven webinars on its 2015 IBC Structural Seismic Design Manuals.  


The SEAOC Board approves a Long Range Plan through 2019 that focuses on building membership value and expanding public and legislative advocacy for the profession.

The Resilient Structural Design Committee is convened for the first time (first as a subcommittee and later repositioned as standing committee) to address and make recommendations on topics related to resilience and the appropriate role of the structural engineer.  


Duty to defend legislation – In a remarkable development, SEAOC and fellow design-professional organizations scored a great success when Governor Brown signed legislation – SB 496 (Cannella) – that limits a design professional’s duty to defend other parties to his or her level of responsibility.  The bill, which through intense political maneuvering got tied to April’s gas tax bill, offers major relief to our firms. It also demonstrates the effectiveness that SEAOC and our colleague organizations can have in the Capitol when working together
The SEAOC Professional Practices Committee held its inaugural meeting and embarked on its initial task, consisting of an update to SEAOC’s 1999 Recommended Guidelines for the Practice of Structural Engineering in California.  


SEAOC’s Communications Committee launched a streamlined and more intuitive website for the organization at

September and october

The SEAOSD Convention Committee hosted a celebratory and seamless SEAOC Annual Convention in San Diego.  

As a collaborative effort, SEAOC participated in the annual CALBO Training Institute, and briefed CALBO members on California’s local retrofit ordinances.  

october and November

SEAOC’s Wind Committee and the Solar Photovoltaic Systems Sub-Committee announced publication of their much-anticipated update to Wind Design for Solar Arrays, which members can download free on the SEAOC website.  

TBI Seminars – SEAOC partnered with PEER on two well-received seminars in Oakland and Los Angeles on PEER’s updated Tall Building Initiative guidelines.  Remote participation was offered in Sacramento and San Diego.  


After renegotiating the publishing agreement with ICC to ensure more equitable terms, final editing and production began on SEAOC’s ambitious Wind Design Manual based on ASCE 7-16, a project driven by the Wind Committee and whose authors include experts from across the nation.  It will be published in the Spring.    

In addition, here are some of the many notable initiatives by the Member Organizations:

  • SEAOCC’s collaboration with OSHPD on offering USGS Seismic Design maps online with the updated values
  • SEAOSC Safer Cities Recon for the Mexico City earthquake team completed a five day survey and information gathering investigation of post-earthquake conditions. The committee presented initial observations on damage to known vulnerable buildings, as well as previously retrofitted buildings, and observations on Community Resilience.
  • SEAOSC Strengthening Our Cities Summit was a resounding success, promoting resilient communities and engaging the building community beyond structural engineering.
  • SEAOSC is a key participant along with the local chapters of AIA and USGBC among others in Building Forward LA, an initiative by the office of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti to enhance how buildings are designed, permitted, and constructed in Los Angeles and realize the vision for a resilient Los Angeles. 
  • The Hensolt SEAONC Legacy Project is well underway, with the ambitious goal of capturing the history of the profession in Northern California. 
  • SEAONC offered its SE3 Symposium last January to announce the findings of the SE3 project on gender equity in the profession – a significant move forward for our profession. 
  • SEAOSD’s involvement in the EERI San Diego-Tijuana Earthquake Scenario, a multi-year, multi-dimensional planning exercise that was subject of a panel discussion at the SEAOC Convention.  

As we enter this holiday season, while we are currently enjoying a stellar economic cycle, it is encouraging that many professionals in our field are gainfully employed.  This is quite worthy of our gratitude since it is not long ago when many of us were facing some seriously challenging times.  

And so, let us remember the less fortunate than us.  This is the time for each of us to become engaged in our own communities, beyond just the technical realm.  There are plenty of opportunities to donate or participate at a homeless shelter, a food bank, or a crisis intervention center.  And while doing so talk about our profession, who we are and what we do.  Because what better way to show our appreciation of our careers and gratitude for the abundance of life than to share some of it with those who are not as fortunate as we are?

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the SEAOC organization I wish you a safe and joyous holiday season and a 2018 full of health, happiness, and prosperity.