In this episode of The Structural Engineering Channel podcast, we will be taking to Ronald O. Hamburger, SE who is a Senior Principal at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger and Evan Reis, SE, co-founder of the U.S. Resiliency Council. We will be talking about recent articles in the New York Times on the concept of base isolation, including the article: Buildings Can Be Designed to Withstand Earthquakes – Why Doesn’t the U.S. Build More of them?
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Our Guests in This Episode:
- What are the reasons behind the big difference between the number of buildings in the US and other countries that utilize base isolation?
- Has base isolation been in the code for a while already?
- Do you think there is really a need for base isolation in the U.S.?
- Tell us about the U.S. Resiliency Council and what the mission of the council is?
- What is your opinion on some of our existing buildings that are not safe?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Base Isolation:
- Base isolation is a technique developed to prevent or minimize damage to buildings during an earthquake.
- The reasons behind the big difference in buildings in our countries are largely due to economical reasons as opposed to technical reasons. While it is not much more expensive to build a base-isolated building in the U.S. than it is in other countries, there are some incremental construction costs associated with base isolation, which is the primary reason that it’s not being used for many structures in the U.S.
- I think the most exciting thing about structural engineering is the proliferation of a design technology that is called performance-based design, which provides flexibility to engineers during designs.
- The better our buildings can perform when hit by natural disasters, the more sustainable they will become.
- The U.S. Resiliency Council was founded as a way to use engineering technology that was developed by organizations like The American Society Of Civil Engineers , FEMA, and others to quantify the performance of buildings in earthquakes and other natural disasters.
- One of the key reasons why we don’t see anywhere near the same number of base isolated buildings in the US as we do in other countries is because there is a perceived low probability of a disaster occurring in an area.
- We have the opportunity to see what resilience is and what the structural engineering profession means. Not just for a building, but for the entire community which that building serves. The engineering profession as a whole should take advantage of this opportunity and promote the value that engineers provide.
More Details in This Episode…
About our Guests:
Ronald Hamburger, SE
Ronald Hamburger, SE has more than 30 years of experience in design, construction, education, research, evaluation, investigation and repair of commercial, institutional, and industrial facilities. He is an internationally recognized expert in performance-based structural, earthquake and blast engineering, and has played a lead role in the development of national structural engineering standards and building code provisions. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, Mr. Hamburger served as the lead investigator into the collapse of New York’s twin World Trade Center towers on behalf of the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Evan Reis, SE
Evan Reis, SE is the Executive Director of the US Resiliency Council. He works with public agencies and private companies nationwide to promote resilience and protect buildings and infrastructure against natural and man-made risks. Evan focuses on developing comprehensive resilience management strategies that include, mitigation, emergency management and business continuity planning, and financial risk transfer. Evan graduated with his bachelor’s and Masters Degrees in Structural Engineering from Stanford University in 1988. The following year he was back down on the Farm, helping the University recover from the Loma Prieta Earthquake and playing an integral part in its long-term seismic resilience program. Evan co-founded the US Resiliency Council in 2011 as a way to educate building stakeholders and the public about the gap between the growing sustainability movement and true resilient design.
This episode is brought to you by CSI, Computers and Structures, Inc. which is recognized globally as the pioneering leader in software tools for structural and earthquake engineering. You can learn more about them at www.csiamerica.com
Please leave your opinion or questions in the section below on base isolation and why it is not used more in the US.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP & Mathew Picardal P.E.
Hosts of The Structural Engineering Podcast