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Is My Building Earthquake-Safe? Tune in to MMC’s Third Webinar for Answers

Friday, August 22, 2014  
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Presented by NCSEA Existing Buildings Committee Chair

The National Institute of Building Sciences Multihazard Mitigation Council (MMC) announces its third webinar in its webinar series on mitigation. “Is My Building Earthquake-Safe? Obstacles to a Practical Earthquake Rating System,” presented by David Bonowitz, S.E., chair of the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA) Existing Buildings Committee and member of the MMC Board of Direction, will be held Thursday, September 25, 2014, from 1:00 to 2:00 pm. EDT.

Through the series, the MMC serves to address social considerations, governance (including building codes and zoning ordinances), the built environment, hazard and risk assessment and economics. In the September webinar, Bonowitz will broach a series of questions: Shouldn't everyone in seismically active areas be able to know how their house, apartment, workplace or school will do in an earthquake – or for that matter, a hurricane, tornado or flood? Why can't buildings be graded for earthquake safety, like restaurants are for food safety? Why don't we have a LEED-like system for seismic design?

In his presentation, Bonowitz will answer these questions, explaining past attempts to rate buildings, as well as the often-conflicting priorities of owners, tenants, lenders, insurers, engineers, emergency planners and policy makers. He will also present a new rating system developed by the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC). The SEAONC system, which is suitable for voluntary use and geared to non-expert stakeholders, has already attracted interest from the City of Los Angeles, the California Earthquake Authority, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and private-sector institutions.

David Bonowitz is a licensed structural engineer and a thought leader on seismic and structural resilience. As an expert in the incorporation of engineering standards into earthquake risk reduction policies, he is often called on to link what engineers know to what policy-makers, decision-makers, and stakeholders need.

As chair of the NCSEA Existing Buildings Committee, Bonowitz develops and coordinates building code changes on behalf of the nationwide engineering community. He consults to state, federal and international agencies, and is currently the lead structural consultant to San Francisco’s Earthquake Safety Implementation Program and Berkeley’s Soft-Story Retrofit Program, as well as an advisor to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)’s Housing and Community Risk Assessment Project and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)’s Concrete Coalition. His on-site research following the Loma Prieta, Northridge and Humboldt County earthquakes in California and the 1993 earthquake in Guam involved structures ranging from woodframe houses to steel highrises. His experience includes work in Indonesia, Japan and Pakistan, and he was a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Fourth U.S.-Iran Seismic Workshop in Tehran. From 2004 to 2007, Bonowitz served as the first structural engineer for California’s Judicial Branch, developing design criteria and managing evaluations for California’s 500-plus court facilities.


Don’t wait to sign up for the September 25 webinar. Only the first 125 participants will be admitted. Register now.

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