SEAOSD Members: 2017 Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards – Call For Entries

 Announcements, Calendar/Events, Events, Media  Comments Off on SEAOSD Members: 2017 Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards – Call For Entries
Feb 022017
 

It’s not too early to start preparing for the 2017 Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards!

 

Please visit click here SEAOSD_2017_EiSE_Entry_Packet to download the entry packet.

Entries are due Thursday April 27th, 2017

 

SEAOSD is proud to announce a few key changes this year…

 

  • The SEAOSD Awards entry process has been combined with the state level SEAOC Awards program.  This new integrated program is now a two-tiered process to truly reveal the best of the best of structural engineering excellence in California.

 

  • Projects must be submitted to the SEAOC/SEAOSD Awards program. There will no longer be a separate application for the SEAOC Awards.  Projects that win a Regional (SEAOSD) award will be automatically advanced to the SEAOC Awards program.

 

  • The only entry fee is the SEAOC/SEAOSD Awards entry fee of $150. No additional entry fee will be required for advancement to the SEAOC Awards.

 

  • Display boards are no longer optional and are due at the same time as the electronic submission materials.

 

  • The winners of the SEAOC/SEAOSD Awards will be displayed at the 2017 SEAOC Convention hosted right here in San Diego!  This is a chance for your firm to shine in front of all Convention attendees in our own back yard.

California Structural Engineers Urge Commercial Building Owners to Prepare Now to Avert Problems in Future Earthquakes

 Media  Comments Off on California Structural Engineers Urge Commercial Building Owners to Prepare Now to Avert Problems in Future Earthquakes
Jun 162010
 

JUNE 16, 2010–SACRAMENTO, CA – The Structural Engineers Association of California (www.seaoc.org), the premier professional organization of practicing structural engineers in the State, has developed guidelines that encourage commercial building owners to take preventive steps to avert possible damage to their structures from a major earthquake in their area. SEAOC developed these guidelines following the recent earthquakes in Haiti, Baja California and Chile.

According to SEAOC’s president, Bill Warren, “By following some simple steps in these guidelines California commercial building owners will help minimize damage to their buildings — and economic losses to tenants’ businesses — when a significant quake occurs in their region.”

Here are steps that SEAOC recommends building owners follow before an earthquake:

1. Organize and safeguard important documents, such as building construction drawings (architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing); emergency contact information; evacuation and contingency plans; and other essential documents. Create a list of the location of utilities systems’ shut-off valves and place appropriate tools in each location for shut-off in the event of an earthquake.

2. Assess the current condition of your building. Building owners are encouraged to inspect and document their buildings for cracks and other existing damage before an earthquake so they will not be falsely alarmed by cracks observed after an earthquake.

A. If a building was built before 1980, consider having an engineer do an assessment of the structure and an evaluation against current building practices. This is important as the seismic codes and standards have changed radically in the past 30 years.

B. If a building was constructed after 1980, the owner may still benefit from a seismic evaluation of the building’s potential risk exposure and to learn how the building is expected to behave during an earthquake.

3. Take preventive measures and retrofit those areas at risk for earthquake damage. This can be done in phases, doing the most critically identified items first. SEAOC reminds owners that preventive repairs are ultimately cheaper than repairing a building after an earthquake. For example, the Department of Building Safety of San Francisco recently estimated that it would cost $260 million to seismically update buildings on the San Andreas fault – an investment that would eventually prevent about $1.5 billion worth of damage if a major earthquake hit.

4. Reduce potential falling hazards within the building by anchoring tall and narrow furniture to floors and walls. This should be completed in both common areas as well as in tenant spaces.

5. Plan post-earthquake procedures. Here are some basic steps to take:

A. Develop Earthquake Procedures including when and how to evacuate tenants from your building. Inform your tenants and building staff of these steps. Do some trial runs of your plan.

B. Encourage tenants to maintain “Post-EQ Safety Kits” containing bottled water, small tools, radio, flashlight, important phone numbers, etc.

C. Prepare a “Post-EQ First-Pass” plan, including information for building staff regarding gas lines, water lines, exits, structural items, etc. A structural engineer can help point out “hot spots” that will need to be checked in your building following an earthquake.

6. Consider placing a contractor and/or structural engineer on retainer so that you will be certain to be prepared for immediate response after an earthquake.

“The good news is that basic earthquake problems in most buildings, both structural and nonstructural, can be remedied in a majority of cases through easy and inexpensive means,” said Warren.

In the event of an earthquake, SEAOC recommends that building owners follow these important steps:

1. Enforce a “Do not enter the building” policy. This is particularly important if a building owner has any concerns regarding the structural stability of the building, especially considering the potential for earthquake aftershocks.

2. Look for signs of exterior damage prior to entering the building. Wherever structural
items are exposed, look for the following signs:

• Cracks in members and at welds.
• Sheared off bolts, dislodged beam bearing, paint flaking off members, deformation of members, and for nails or screws pulled out, for example.
• Cracks in parapets or other hanging objects.
• Signs of movement at seismic joints.
• Fallen objects.

3. Enter the building only if you feel safe to do so. If in doubt, do not enter the building and call in an expert to do a more thorough assessment. When you do enter the building, check the building interior for the same type of damage as noted for exterior damage. In addition, be on the alert for potential falling objects such as ceilings, light fixtures, bookcases, etc. that could occur in
aftershocks.

4. Determine whom, if anyone, should be allowed to occupy the building. After an earthquake, tenants may be apprehensive about entering a building because of liability and safety concerns. Conversely, they may wish to reoccupy the building as soon as possible to minimize business losses. If damage is evident, contact professionals for evaluation and repairs.

5. Create plan for re-occupancy. Immediately following an earthquake, a process for inspecting the structure should be scheduled, including reviews by building inspectors, structural engineers, architects, and/or other qualified experts. In sum, each building must be inspected for its potential threat to public safety and tagged to signify its access potential for re-occupancy.

SEAOC reminds building owners that cracks in finishes, such as plaster, ceilings or drywall, do not necessarily indicate structural damage has occurred. On the other hand, such signs could be indications of more significant hidden damage. Therefore, it’s recommended to have this type of damage evaluated by a professional, especially for the taller multi-story buildings where hidden structural damage has been found in past earthquakes.

The Structural Engineers Association of California (www.seaoc.org) is a nonprofit organization of nearly 4000 members dedicated to advancing the structural engineering profession, protecting public safety in the built environment and serving the business and professional needs of the membership.

For more information or an interview, contact Patricia Coate, Media Contact for SEAOC at 415-309-2231, or Bill Warren, president of SEAOC at 949-722-0185.

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California Structural Engineers Urge Homeowners to Take Action Now to Bolt Foundations and Furniture Following Recent Baja California Earthquake

 Media  Comments Off on California Structural Engineers Urge Homeowners to Take Action Now to Bolt Foundations and Furniture Following Recent Baja California Earthquake
Apr 072010
 

APRIL 7, 2010, SAN DIEGO, CA – Members of the Structural Engineers Association of
California (www.seaoc.org), the premier professional organization of practicing
structural engineers in the State, are urging homeowners to bolt their home’s foundations
and take other measures to protect their property following the magnitude 7.2 earthquake
which struck on April 4, Easter Sunday, in Baja California.

According to SEAOC’s Jim Amundson, head of the association’s PR committee, “If California
residents would follow some simple basic steps today to prepare for such earthquakes, they will
be better able to avoid damage to their homes, families and belongings that could occur if a
similar quake hit closer to their region.”

“The good news is that basic earthquake problems in most houses, both structural and
nonstructural, can be remedied in a majority of cases through easy and inexpensive means,” said
Mr. Amundson.

Specifically, the Structural Engineers Association believe that homeowners need primarily to
answer four basic questions before the next earthquake in their area:

1. Is my house securely anchored to its foundation so that it won’t slip during an
earthquake?

2. Are there exterior hazards such as loose chimneys that need attention?

3. Are there interior hazards such as loose water heaters and unsecured furniture that create
a safety hazard for my family?

4. Do I need the opinion and advice of a professional engineer and where do I find the right
expert?

Foundations Are the Number One Issue

Wood-framed houses that are not adequately anchored or bolted to their foundations and/or have
un-braced cripple walls in the crawl space are in danger of sliding off their foundations during an
earthquake, severely damaging or destroying the building.

Unbolted foundations: Adding bolts to connect unsecured wood-framed houses to their
foundation is one of the most important steps toward earthquake safety. This can be done by a,
contractor, or anyone skilled at home maintenance. If you, the homeowner, are not sure whether
the foundation is bolted already, you should look for bolts at the base of the stud wall where the
wood mudsills sit directly on top of the concrete foundation. Such bolts should be no more than 6
feet (1.8 meters) apart in a single story and 4 feet (1.2 meters) apart in a multistory building.
If your home’s first floor crawl space foundation has been damaged in the past or it was built in
the “pier and post” style, it may be necessary to consult a licensed contractor or civil / structural
engineer about replacing it with a continuous perimeter foundation.

Un-braced cripple walls.
If your wood-framed home has a crawl space beneath the first floor, the
individual short studs supporting the first floor, called “cripple” studs, should be sheathed
together with plywood panels to make a sturdier wall. You or a licensed contractor can
strengthen the cripple walls relatively inexpensively.

Soft first stories. Many two-story homes in earthquake-prone areas of California have large
garage door openings or other large open window spaces in their first floors walls. When the
home is not designed correctly, structural engineers call these “soft stories.” Some hillside homes
built on stilts also have perilous foundations. In cases of soft first stories and raised foundations,
it’s advisable to consult a licensed professional architect, contractor or civil/structural engineer to
make sure your building is adequately braced.

Exterior Hazards Need Your Attention

Un-reinforced masonry. In some parts of California, many homes have been built with brick or
block exterior walls with little or no reinforcing steel. These homes need to be reinforced. Some
communities have programs for retrofitting un-reinforced masonry buildings so check with your
local building office. One solution to this problem is to add an internal steel frame and bolt the
walls to the steel frame. Even in wood-framed homes, inadequately braced brick chimneys can
also be a problem. It’s important, therefore, to consult an expert to determine if your home’s
exterior brick walls and chimney structures are safe.

Interior Hazards Are Easily Remedied

Nonstructural deficiencies. Inside one’s home lurks many potential hazards such as an
un-braced water heater, exposed brick walls, open shelves, tall furniture and unsecured
mirrors and other wall hangings. If not properly secured, these items could themselves
break during an earthquake, but more importantly they could cause severe injury to your
family members if they topple. Fortunately, most of these problems can be mitigated (or
protected against failing during an earthquake) with the use of simple metal clips and
straps that can be purchased at a local hardware store, to secure items in place.

Locating a Professional for Advice

Civil engineers, structural engineers and architects are trained and licensed to provide
information about structures. Geologists, foundation engineers, and geotechnical engineers are
trained and licensed to evaluate the soil conditions the structures sit on and recommend
appropriate action.

Make sure that you select the right expert and choose someone whom you can trust. This
individual will be reviewing your problem, providing plans and a scope of work as a remedy. A
good place to start is to call a professional organization such as SEAOC and ask for information
about individuals who work in your area and handle the kind of problem you have.
For more information about these and other steps homeowners can take, there are many available
resources online. SEAOC, in fact, participated in the development of two brochures on
earthquake safety called “Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country.” One concentrates on
Southern California earthquake issues and the other on Northern California earthquake issues.
They can be found at www.earthquakecountry.info/roots. SEAOC also has its own earthquake
safety website at www.celebratingeqsafety.com which provides information about what causes
earthquakes, why buildings fail and more about the structural engineering profession.
The Structural Engineers Association of California (www.seaoc.org) is a nonprofit organization
of nearly 4000 members dedicated to advancing the structural engineering profession, protecting
public safety in the built environment and serving the business and professional needs of the
membership.

For more information or an interview, contact Patricia Coate, Media Contact for SEAOC at
patriciacoate@mac.com or 415-309-2231, or Jim Amundson, SEAOC PR committee chair,
jamundson@hopeengineering.com or 619-232-4673. Ext 219.

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