Structural and Nonstructural Earthquake Design: The Challenge of Integrating Specialty Areas in Designing Complex Critical Facilities

W.J. Petak and D.J. Alesch

MCEER-08-0014 | 04/30/2008 | 70 pages

Keywords: Earthquake-resistant designs.  Nonstructural designs.  Architecture.  Acute care facilities.  Hospitals.  California.  Master Builder concept.  Construction.  Systems integration.

Abstract: This report explores the challenges faced by engineers and architects to integrate structural and nonstructural elements in the design of earthquake resistant buildings.  The authors review the traditional roles and responsibilities of various participants in constructing a modern building, and explore impediments to incorporating nonstructural design into engineering practice.  Several possible solutions are proposed, including the creation of a new profession called a "master builder" who would serve as a building systems integrator.  However, there is currently no academic program to train this type of professional. Legislation such as California’s SB 1953, which brought the problems associated with integrating architecture, structural engineering, and the design and installation of nonstructural components of acute care hospitals into sharp focus, may provide some incentive to academic institutions to broaden current curricula to be more in line with the needs of professional practice in this area.