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Webinar Recording: SE Role in Community Resilience & Designing for Functional...

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Recent hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes have shown how vulnerable our communities are to natural disasters. While casualties from these events have reduced due to implementation of modern life-safety building codes, economic losses from damage and downtime continue to rise, even reaching record levels. The public and policy makers have noticed this trend and there are several efforts are underway to consider seismic design requirements that are also focused on building reparability and functionality, often referred to as “Functional Recovery”.  

Structural engineers play a pivotal role in community recovery by ensuring buildings and infrastructure can function after a disruptive event. In the last 10 years, new tools like FEMA P-58 have been developed that give structural engineers the ability to go beyond life safety and estimate building performance from earthquakes in terms of repair cost and downtime. Moving forward, structural engineers need to understand the role individual buildings play in community resilience, the performance we can expect from the current code provisions (which don’t protect building function), and how we can design buildings to recovery more quickly after an earthquake (e.g. be functioning within a week). Designing buildings for quick functional recovery is both feasible and not cost-prohibitive, and is being done now electively on projects.

This webinar held on October 22, 2019 covered ongoing work being done by the SEAOC Resilience Committee, the SEAOC Functional Recovery Working Group, and the Applied Technology Council (project 138), as well as how this work fit into the legislative efforts currently in progress (NIST/FEMA federal committee, and California functional recovery legislation). The first half provides an overview of community resilience from a natural disaster context and identify how the performance of buildings collectively can improve resilience. The second half provides updates on the latest ATC research on estimating the earthquake performance of current code buildings and discuss specific strategies and next steps for creating a Functional Recovery design standard. 




Jonathan Buckalew is a project engineer and has worked 8 years at Nabih Youssef Structural Engineers. He received his BS and M.Eng from UC Berkeley. Jon is an active member of SEAOC Existing Building Committees, Chair of the SEAONC Resilience Committee, and Co-Chair of the SEAOC Resilience Committee.








Curt B. Haselton, Ph.D., P.E. is the John F. O’Connell Endowed Professor of Civil Engineering at California State University, Chico, and the Co-Founder and CEO of Haselton Baker Risk Group ( and the Seismic Performance Prediction Program (SP3); SP3 is a commercial tool to implement FEMA P-58 analyses, with the goal of making broad use of resilience-based design and risk assessment feasible in structural engineering practice.  Dr. Haselton's research is in the area of performance-based and resilience-based earthquake engineering, with focuses on damage and loss estimation, building code development, collapse safety assessment, ground motion selection and scaling, and the treatment of uncertainties. Dr. Haselton was recently the chair of the Building Seismic Safety Council team to rewriting Chapter 16 of the ASCE 7 national building code.