With abundant talk around this concern and numerous reports stating that the “big one” is on the horizon, the question of, “are we doing everything we can to be properly prepared?” is becoming a hot topic in our industry.

In the 2016 March/April edition of APEGBC’s Innovation magazine, GlotmanSimpson Senior Structural Engineer, Andrew Seeton, P Eng, explores Earthquake Performance of Buildings in the featured article, “Is BC Prepared for the Big One? Exploring BC’s Earthquake Preparedness, Resistance and Resilience.”

He says,

“Over the past 30 years, the state of practice in the seismic design of buildings and other structures has seen considerable advancement. Lessons gleaned from earthquake events and academic research have made their way into modern building codes, and our profession has largely embraced these developments and incorporated them into our designs. In this regard, we owe ourselves some credit. But in the bigger picture, there is much more that we can do as professional engineers to enhance the earthquake resilience of our communities and the province.”

“…It is necessary for professional engineers to educate clients about the level of earthquake performance that can be reasonably expected from new and existing buildings, and to suggest options for improved performance. We have the skills to encourage the design of better buildings, using performance-based design techniques to show expected outcomes in terms that are meaningful to project stakeholders and the public. This effort requires participation from multiple disciplines: mechanical, electrical, geotechnical, and other non-structural aspects of building performance all come into play. Building rating systems that categorize expected seismic performance, such as the one recently launched by the US Resiliency Council, offer a promising way to convey the message to the public and assign a value to seismic safety in the marketplace.”


“When a large earthquake eventually strikes near a densely populated community of BC, engineers will have a key role to play in the response and recovery phases of the emergency. The SEABC’s Post-Earthquake Response Committee is working with APEGBC, Emergency Management BC, BC Housing, the City of Vancouver, and other stakeholders to develop a framework to guide the participation of engineers in damage assessments. These assessments will be critical in terms of protecting the immediate safety of the public, as well as enabling expedient resumption of building occupancy where it is safe to do so.”

Head over to APEGBC to read more of Andrew’s article in the March/April edition of Innovation.

Andrew Seeton, P Eng, Senior Structural Engineer at GlotmanSimpson has more than 10 years of experience in the structural and seismic design of commercial, residential, and institutional buildings. Andrew volunteers as a director of the Structural Engineers Association of BC (SEABC) and chairs the SEABC’s Post-Earthquake Response Committee.

Innovation-March_April-2016 (Andew's Post)