Earthquake Hazard and Public Policy in California

by Karl V. Steinbrugge, (F.ASCE), Manager; Earthquake Dept., Insurance Services Ofc., San Francisco, CA; and Prof. of Struct. Design, Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA,
Carl B. Johnson, (F.ASCE), Part.; Johnson & Nielsen Assoc., Los Angeles, CA,

Serial Information: Engineering Issues: Journal of Professional Activities, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 4, Pg. 513-519

Document Type: Journal Paper


Recent California laws on earthquake safety require the design engineer to consider some new concepts in his approaches to earthquake engineering design. In addition, he must broaden his design viewpoint to include closer working relationships with related disciplines. The policing of the design and construction of new hospitals has been pre-empted by the state from local control. The law now requires the engineer (both private consultants as well as government employed designers) to prepare designs of a type which will allow all future new hospitals to remain functional after an earthquake disaster. A second law implies that state approved dams are not automatically perfectly safe and therefore some acceptable degree of risk exists; as one result, downstream inundation maps must be prepared and released to the public. Two additional significant laws require land-use planning for the earthquake geologic hazards of faulting, structurally poor ground (such as marshes), and earthquake induced landslides; these laws do not preclude construction in these areas, but they will increase construction costs in some instances.

Subject Headings: Public health and safety | Laws | Seismic design | Earthquakes | Public policy | Health care facilities | Consulting services | Risk management | California | United States

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