FEMA P-58: Next-Generation Performance-based Design Criteria

December 30, 2012
Publication: SEAOC 2012 Convention Proceedings, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Structural Engineers Association of California p 181-188
Author(s): Ronald Hamburger

Abstract: Since the first publication of the ATC-33/FEMA 273/274 Guidelines for Seismic Rehabilitation, now embodied in the ASCE 31 and 41 standards, engineers throughout the western U.S. have eagerly adopted and applied performance-based seismic engineering, not only to the evaluation and retrofit of existing buildings, but also the design of major new structures. The City of San Francisco, PEER, the Los Angeles Tall Buildings Design Council, and the Council on Tall Buildings in the Urban Habitat have all developed and adopted design criteria based on this model. Even before the ATC-33 project was complete the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) initiated development of a next-generation replacement for these guidelines, specifically intended to address issues the ATC-33 project could not solve, including: applicability to new construction; reliability; rational consideration of the performance of nonstructural components; and, relation of performance in terms more useful to decision-makers. After 10 years of development, the FEMA P-58 guidelines, together with accompanying software are complete and available to engineers for use on projects. The P-58 methodology provides engineers the tools to predict the performance of new or existing buildings in terms of the probable consequences of earthquake shaking, including potential casualties, repair/replacement costs, repair time, and environmental impact. Even as the ink dries on the P-58 publication FEMA and ATC are at work to provide engineers with practical design guidelines, based on the new methodology.