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Building Seismic Safety Council

About the Council

The Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC) is an independent, voluntary membership body representing a wide variety of building community interests related to seismic safety. Its fundamental purpose is to enhance public safety by providing a national forum that fosters improved seismic safety provisions for use by the building community in the planning, design, construction, regulation, and utilization of buildings.

The BSSC was established in 1979 as a Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences. The BSSC deals with the complex regulatory, technical, social, and economic issues involved in developing and promulgating nation-wide regulatory earthquake risk mitigation provisions for buildings. By bringing together all of the needed expertise and relevant public and private interests issues related to the seismic safety of the built environment can be resolved and jurisdictional problems overcome through authoritative guidance and assistance backed by a broad consensus.

The BSSC's area of interest encompasses all building types, structures, and related facilities and includes explicit consideration and assessment of the social, technical, administrative, political, legal, and economic implications of its deliberations and recommendations.

Believing that the achievement of its purpose is a concern shared by all in the public and private sectors, the BSSC's activities are structured to provide all interested entities with the opportunity to participate. The BSSC also believes that the regional and local differences in the nature and magnitude of potentially hazardous earthquake events require a flexible approach to seismic safety that allows for consideration of the relative risk, resources, and capabilities of each community. Committed to lasting technical improvement of seismic design provisions, assessment of advances in engineering knowledge and design experience and evaluation of earthquake impacts, the BSSC works closely with government bodies, voluntary organizations, business, industry, the design profession, the construction industry, the research community and the general public to achieve its goals.

The BSSC recognizes that appropriate earthquake hazard risk reduction measures and initiatives should be adopted by existing organizations and institutions and incorporated, whenever possible, into their legislation, regulations, practices, rules, codes, relief procedures, and loan requirements. The BSSC strongly believes that these measures and initiatives must become an integral part of established activities, not additional burdens. Thus, the BSSC itself assumes no standards-making or -promulgating role; rather, it advocates that code and standards formulation organizations consider the BSSC's recommendations for inclusion in their documents and standards.


The Building Seismic Safety Council's Goals are to:

  • Promote the development of seismic safety provisions suitable for use throughout the United States;
  • Recommend, encourage, and promote the adoption of appropriate seismic safety provisions in voluntary standards and model codes;
  • Assess progress in the implementation of such provisions by federal, state and local regulatory and construction agencies;
  • Identify opportunities for improving seismic safety regulations and practices and encourage public and private organizations to make such improvements;
  • Promote the development of training and educational courses and materials for use by design professionals, builders, building regulatory officials, elected officials, industry representatives, other members of the building community and the public;
  • Advise government bodies on their programs of research, development, and implementation; and periodically review and evaluate research findings, practices and experience and make recommendations for incorporation into seismic design practices.


Should you have any additional questions about the Building Seismic Safety Council that were not answered on this site or you would like to comment on the site, please contact:

Philip J. Schneider, AIA
Executive Director

National Institute of Building Sciences
1090 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005-4905
(202) 289-7800
(202) 289-1092 Fax

Related Documents

Cover of Institute Fact Sheet on BSSC
BSSC Fact Sheet PDF
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