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News: Legislative Updates

SEAOC Forming Working Group on Functional Recovery

Wednesday, April 10, 2019  

By Ryan Kersting, SE
SEAOC Legislative Committee Chair

Given ongoing efforts in the California Legislature, in the NEHRP Agencies, and elsewhere in the industry, SEAOC is forming a Working Group on Functional Recovery to position our organization to be prepared to participate in and effectively influence these various activities. 

This SEAOC Working Group will be charged with considering a framework for a functional recovery standard, currently defined by California Assembly Bill AB 393 as a set of enforceable building code provisions and regulations that provide specific design and construction requirements intended to result in a building for which post-earthquake structural and nonstructural capacity are maintained or can be restored to support the basic intended functions of the building’s pre-earthquake use and occupancy within a maximum acceptable time, where the maximum acceptable time might differ for various uses or occupancies. 

The Working Group shall:
1. Consider the definition of “functional recovery standard” given by the bill, what it implies, what it omits, and critical aspects for its practical and successful implementation. The Group shall consider whether a “functional recovery standard” is warranted for all or some building occupancy classifications and/or seismic design categories and the means of implementing that standard, either as a mandate or as a voluntary measure. 
2. Produce a white paper discussing a framework for a functional recovery standard and recommendations regarding its development and implementation, to be reviewed by the SEAOC Board.

Given the association between functional recovery and resilience concepts, the Working Group shall work closely with SEAOC’s Resilience Committee, building from that committee’s understanding, research, and publications to advance resilience and functional recovery concepts. The Working Group shall also collaborate with other SEAOC standing committees as appropriate, including but not limited to Seismology, Existing Buildings, Sustainability, Legislative, and Communications.

Members of the Working Group may be asked to participate in a joint committee formed between SEAOC and another organization (e.g., EERI) to bring together unique technical expertise from both organizations to develop a consensus position to present to stakeholders and avoid public disagreement on technical issues.

The SEAOC Board invites members to submit letters of interest to participate on the SEAOC Working Group for Functional Recovery. Letters should be submitted to Don Schinske, SEAOC Executive Director (, by April 26, 2019, for consideration by the SEAOC Board. Interested members should discuss their experience with the concept of “functional recovery” or related experience with “better than life safety” seismic performance and their relationship with standing SEAOC committees and/or other similar activities with other industry and code development groups. Questions can be addressed to Don Schinske or Ryan Kersting, SEAOC Legislative Committee Chair (