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New Free Guide Helps Explain How Buildings are Designed to Resist Earthquakes

January 22, 2010 from American Institute of Steel Construction

Facts for Steel Buildings #3 - Earthquakes and Seismic Design

(Chicago) – Why was destruction so widespread in Haiti and would a similar earthquake be as devastating in the U.S.? A new publication from the American Institute of Steel Construction, the group that writes the specification for the seismic design of steel buildings in the U.S., provides a broad understanding of earthquakes and how they affect buildings. While Facts for Steel Buildings Number 3: Earthquakes and Seismic Design was written prior to and does not directly address the situation in Haiti, the reader gains a basic understanding of earthquake engineering and the U.S. buildings codes that are designed to prevent this level of catastrophe. The publication is available as a free download at www.aisc.org/facts.

Written by Ronald O. Hamburger of Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Inc., this publication presents an overview of the causes of earthquakes, the earthquake effects that damage structures, the structural properties that are effective in minimizing damage, and the organization and intent of seismic design requirements for steel structures in the U.S. today and also looks at the future of seismic design. Hamburger is one of the world’s leading experts on seismic design and chairs the AISC committee responsible for prequalifying moment connections for use in high-seismic applications. He’s a past president of the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations and played a key leadership role in the post-Northridge earthquake research that helped to create our current seismic design standards. For his work on performance-based seismic design, he received the AISC T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award in 2007.

AISC’s Facts series provides a look at the background and philosophy on various topics without delving into heavy technical details. They are written so as to be understandable by both engineers and laypeople. The previous two installments are Facts for Steel Buildings Number 1: Fire and Facts for Steel Buildings Number 2: Blast and Progressive Collapse. All three documents are available as free downloads on the AISC website at www.aisc.org/facts


For more information contact:

Tasha O'Berski
Communications Department
(312) 670-5439
[email protected]


American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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