EERI’s Concrete Coalition Project has received funding from the U.S. Geological Survey to help further understand the problem associated with older concrete buildings. This USGS-supported project will develop and provide an initial analysis of a database of photographs from past earthquakes that illustrate common deficiencies contributing to the collapse of concrete buildings. Senior experts will develop protocols to determine deficiencies in the photos, and student volunteers will conduct a majority of the analyses.
EERI has hired four interns to work fulltime on this project for 2 ½ months in summer 2012. The students will find and analyze photos and possibly building drawings under the direction of Senior experts and EERI staff.
The overarching objective of the USGS project is the development of a more systematic performance database that can help inform modelers, researchers and practitioners. It offers an opportunity for students to be involved in a meaningful and potentially ground-breaking exercise, and will link students with senior experts in the field. The product will be a credible and accessible record of concrete building performance in past earthquakes. This database will provide information on the relative importance of deficiencies with respect to collapse and vulnerability as well as information on actual failure modes for a variety of construction types, which can improve vulnerability relationships and the accuracy of regional loss estimates.
Under the leadership of Craig Comartin, a core group of volunteers managed the project,
with the assistance of EERI staff. The project engaged more than 250 volunteers, from
those who participated in early planning and project development meetings to those who
spent weekends documenting building types in specific cities. A summer intern provided by
PEER in 2009 gathered data for the regression model and interviewed volunteers about the
nature of their estimates. See the Final Report to read more about the findings of Phase I.
IT’S A GO FOR TOMORROW’S SIDEWALK SURVEY!
- Directions and parking info to SGH office (PDF)
- FAQs for volunteers (PDF)
- Procedures for photos (PDF)
Please NOTE: For various reasons, we are not going to test the ROVER system on this day. We hope to be able to use the system in the future, to help us gather more specific information on a smaller number of buildings.
If you have a digital camera, please bring the camera and the cable to connect to a computer at the end of the day to download the photos.
February 18, 2010 by admin · Comments Off
The Concrete Coalition is looking for volunteers to help verify the basic count of pre-1980 concrete buildings in the City of San Francisco. Last fall a group of volunteers, led by Steve Kadysiewski, came up with the estimate of 3000. We now want to send out a larger group of volunteers (pairs of 2 or 3) to check some of the more densely built areas of the city, primarily downtown. This sidewalk survey is scheduled for SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27th, 9 am – 2 pm, including an orientation session from 9 to 10 am.
We are going to work from color Sanborn maps, which will be given to each team. These maps show concrete buildings, and the teams will go out and verify if each building in fact still exists, and if it appears to be concrete. In addition, we will ask each team to answer several questions for each building – all things that can be determined from the street: number of stories, type of occupancy or use, vertical or horizontal irregularities – and to take a picture. Each team will look at on average 10 to 15 buildings.
We have an eager group of 30 to 40 masters students from Berkeley, Stanford and San Jose State who will help, and we need another 40 to 50 practitioners to make the day successful. We will all assemble at Simpson Gumpertz and Heger’s offices at One Market St, 6th Floor, San Francisco, near the Embarcadero BART and Muni station at 9 am. Because it is a Saturday, your name will need to be given to the guard first. Lunch will be provided.
ATC and FEMA have agreed to let us use the newly developed ROVER system for this field day. At least 10 teams will be able to use this system. ROVER is the computerized version of FEMA 154, Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Risk. ROVER adapts FEMA 154 to operate on a Windows Mobile smartphone instead of a paper form. The advantage to using ROVER is that the information is automatically uploaded to a server, instantly creating a database for these buildings. ROVER also handles digital photos (watermarked with building name, lat/lon, date and time, etc.), digital sketches, and looks up site soil class. FEMA is loaning us 10 ROVER kits. In addition, we’re looking for volunteers who have Windows Mobile smartphones and GPS devices that could be carried around during this field day. It would be ideal if we could find enough smartphones and GPS devices so that each team can use one. The smartphone must have a touchscreen, camera, and Windows Mobile 5 or higher. ROVER is free software, so you will be able to download it and keep it on your own smartphones. Paper forms will be available for those preferring them.
If you have any questions, please contact Marjorie Greene at EERI (email below). We really appreciate your willingness to help us advance our knowledge of these buildings. February 27th happens to also be the Chinese New Year’s Parade in San Francisco (which starts at 5 pm), so we can guarantee a certain amount of color and excitement in downtown.
When: Saturday, February 27th, 9am to 2pm
Where: Start at offices of SGH at One Market Street, 6th floor, San Francisco (Embarcadero BART)
This event is FREE and lunch is included!
RSVP to Marjorie Greene (MGreene@eeri.org) before this Friday, February 19th. Please indicate if you have a Windows Mobile smartphone.
On November 23rd, 2009, there will be a joint meeting of SEAONC’s Existing Buildings Committee, Young Members Forum and the EERI Northern California Chapter to discuss progress and find volunteers who can help with new cities and with more specific data collection in some of our bigger cities. See the FLYER FOR NOVEMBER 23 MEETING.PDF here for more information.
On February 24th approximately 60 interested engineers and architects came to the SGH office for the second workshop in a series to introduce volunteers to the project and to recruit them to help develop estimates for individual cities.
The presentations at this workshop covered the pilot cities of Long Beach, Berkeley, San Francisco and Alameda, where Dave McCormick described his success in using the Sanborn maps to identify older concrete buildings. Presentations are available online here.
People interested in volunteering can check the map and see what cities currently have volunteers here.
Dave McCormick of SGH and SEAONC will be coordinating volunteers in Northern California. Further information is available from Marjorie Greene at email@example.com.
On Wednesday, January 28th, more than 50 engineers met at the offices of MACTEC to discuss progress with the pilot cities in the California Inventory project and to sign up for additional jurisdictions in southern California. Workshop attendees heard speakers describe various approaches to data collection in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Long Beach and San Francisco. These presentations will be posted online in the next few days.
Jointly sponsored by the EERI southern California chapter and SEAOSC, the workshop drew participants from around the region.
Check back next week for access to the online data collection form and to sign up for additional jurisdictions. Presentations from the workshop are available here.
Workshop Series to help determine HOW MANY ARE THERE?
Get involved! Help us estimate the number of pre-1980 concrete buildings in California! Come to a 2-hour workshop on JANUARY 28th in Los Angeles or FEBRUARY 24th in San Francisco.
The Concrete Coalition is a grassroots effort (see www.concretecoalition.org) to identify older concrete buildings that pose serious earthquake safety risks and to develop technically sound, economically feasible, and socially acceptable ways to fix them. This is the first in a series of workshops and seminars to bring you up-to-date on progress and to get your help in the future. Sessions will be held in Northern and Southern California with the assistance of the EERI Chapters and SEAOSC/SEAONC.
The focus of this 2 hour workshop will be on refining the estimate of the number of pre-1980 concrete buildings in California. The first step in understanding which of these buildings pose the greatest risk in earthquakes is to determine how many such buildings are in the state. Later efforts will identify those at the greatest risk. Participants will hear about significant progress on an inventory for the City of Los Angeles. They will also see how several pilot studies for other communities have developed estimates using a number of simple interesting techniques. The plan is to use similar techniques throughout the State to generate a complete picture of the number and distribution of pre-1980 concrete buildings in early 2009. Participants in the workshop will learn how they can contribute effectively to the effort.
If you are an architect, engineer, researcher, building official, planner, building owner/manager, public policy person, student, or anyone with an interest in the challenge posed by these buildings, you should be there. You will meet like-minded others to share ideas and information. All who have participated in the Concrete Coalition so far agree. It is an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
The Los Angeles workshop is scheduled for WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28th, from 4 pm to 6 pm at MACTEC Engineering, 5628 E. Slauson Avenue, Commerce, California.
The San Francisco workshop is scheduled for TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24th from 5 pm to 7 pm at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc., Alcatraz Conference Room, The Landmark at One Market St., Suite 600, San Francisco, CA.
Refreshments will be provided at both meetings. Agenda for the meetings available here:
UPDATE ON CONCRETE COALITION FROM PROJECT DIRECTOR
It has been a while since we have written you with progress about the Concrete Coalition, but we want to let you know about progress we have been making behind the scenes, and about the activity we would now like to kick into high gear.
First, as you hopefully recall, for the last six months we have been working with Councilman Greig Smith’s office in the City of Los Angeles to help them develop an approach to handling older concrete frame buildings. Simultaneously, the PEER Grand Challenge project has been working to identify how many buildings in the City of Los Angeles are pre-1980 reinforced concrete frames, and they have determined that there are 1300-1500 such buildings. Using the grossest extrapolation technique, this suggests that there might be 5-10,000 such buildings in the state, perhaps an order of magnitude less than the 40,000 that has been sometimes estimated. This is significant and encouraging because it suggests that the problem might be more manageable than originally thought. Councilman Smith’s approach to the problem will be unveiled at the International Earthquake Conference in Los Angeles this week.
Second, we are beginning to make progress on collecting data on individual jurisdictions. For each city in the high seismic risk counties of California we are hoping to answer, with data and/or expert judgment, these four questions:
- How many buildings are in the community?
- How many are built prior to 1980?
- How many are concrete?
- How many are both built prior to 1980 and concrete?
To help put these answers in context we have developed a community risk profile which asks additional questions about demographics and building stock. This will help us determine the kind of risk represented by buildings in these communities.
Our steering committee members have each taken one or two “pilot” communities where they are completing the community risk profile and attempting to answer these four questions. These profiles will be discussed by the steering committee and posted on the Concrete Coalition website in early December:
Berkeley-Joan McQuarrie and Heidi Faison
Palo Alto-Chris Rojahn
San Francisco-David Bonowitz
Los Angeles-Nick DelliQuadri
Glendale- Nick DelliQuadri
Long Beach-Michael Cochran
In the meantime, we are developing a map of California with counties of interest highlighted. Individual cities in these counties will be listed, and we are now looking for volunteer coordinators to help organize the data-gathering effort for each of these cities. The cities, showing their dates of incorporation and population, are here: list-of-cities-by-county. We are most interested in cities that have been incorporated prior to 1980, and with enough population to suggest the presence of concrete buildings. As soon as we have this map ready we will let you know, but in the meantime, if you are interested in helping gather information in a particular city, or if you know that a certain city does NOT have older concrete buildings, please send Marjorie Greene an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to working with you more actively in the coming months.
Dear Colleagues:Thank you again for expressing interest in the Concrete Coalition, a project of EERI, PEER and ATC. During the last few months we have been making progress behind the scenes. We realize that a number of you are hoping to play a more active role, which we truly welcome, and we now feel we are close to being able to accommodate wider involvement. Please read this e-mail update. We hope you will take the time to fill out the critical deficiencies survey and to let us know if you would be willing to fill out a community risk profile.
City of Los Angeles
Craig Comartin, the project director, has been taking the lead in assisting Councilmember Smith’s office of the City of Los Angeles develop a program that will address the risks represented by older concrete buildings. This program should be announced in November, and we’re hopeful that it might spur other jurisdictions into more directly addressing the problem.
Basic Building Inventories
PEER, as part of its grand challenge project, has developed a basic building inventory form that they have encouraged firms in Los Angeles to complete. You can see this form, and a further explanation of the inventory project here.
Top Ten Building Deficiencies
As part of the inventory project, PEER has also developed a survey of the top ten deficiencies associated with this building type–everyone is encouraged to fill this survey out. Please visit the website and complete the survey. It will help PEER in its Grand Challenge project as well as the Concrete Coalition more generally, to understand what the engineering community thinks are the critical weaknesses for this building class.
Community Risk Profiles
The steering committee has developed a draft of a community risk profile that asks a number of questions that will help us understand the dimension of this problem in individual communities. The profile has a critical set of questions and then a larger number of questions where it would be helpful to know the answer, but not as critical. This draft, along with instructions, will be complete in the next few weeks. If you would be willing to fill out such a form for a community, can you e-mail Marjorie Greene at email@example.com and let her know what community you would be willing to take on.
The project currently has two committees–a steering committee and a data management committee. The project is also gathering partner organizations –those organizations that share the goal of understanding and reducing the risk associated with nonductile concrete buildings. To date, the American Concrete Institute and the Structural Engineers Association of California have signed MOUs with the Concrete Coalition. The U.S. Geological Survey is also a partner.
The San Francisco Chronicle had a recent article on the problem of older concrete buildings which drew on material provided by Coalition members.
We will keep you updated of progress in this project on a regular basis. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or any of the steering committee.