Meeting the Earthquake Challenge: California's New Laws

by Karl V. Steinbrugge, (F.ASCE), Prof. of Structural Design,; Univ. of Cal., Berkeley, Calif.,
Henry J. Degenkolb, (F.ASCE), Pres.; H.J. Degenkolb & Assocs., San Francisco, Calif.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1975, Vol. 45, Issue 2, Pg. 44-47

Document Type: Feature article


California's recent earthquake laws are breaking new ground in public policy matters. In turn, these changes in law are also having significant impact on the approaches to civil and structural engineering designs for specific projects as well as for other aspects of engineering practice. For one example of the intent of the new laws, new hospitals must not only remain safe, but must remain functional after the event insofar as practicable. Secondly, although dams are to be constructed to the state-of-the-art of earthquake resistive design, they are not necessarily held to be 'perfectly' safe since downstream inundation maps are required and thereby an acceptable level of risk is implied for down-stream construction. Lastly, land use restrictions are having increasing influence with respect to new construction in earthquake geologically hazards areas such as fault zones.

Subject Headings: Earthquakes | Risk management | Laws | Public policy | Engineering profession | Health care facilities | Earthfill dams | Seismic design | California | United States

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