FEMA document provides simplified seismic design provisions for low-hazard regions

Forty four states have areas defined as low-hazard.

February 21, 2018 |

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a document to assist structural designers in meeting building code requirements for low seismic-hazard regions.

The FEMA NEHRP document provides design guidance for ordinary SDC B buildings as denoted in ASCE/SEI 7. FEMA says its document will help designers to meet the code “without wading through the full, complex seismic design process in ASCE/SEI 7.”

Even in areas where seismic activity is low—Seismic Design Category (SDC) B—structural engineers must still complete a full seismic design process to meet building code requirements. Even in these regions, the risk of building damage or collapse is real.

A case in point is the 2011 Mineral, Va., earthquake that shook much of the East Coast and caused significant damage in areas close to the tremor’s origin.

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