Seismic Safety Guide by Donald Eagling 0000-00-00 00:00:00

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by Donald Eagling
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Seismic Safety Guide by Donald Eagling
Donald Eagling
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Author Donald Eagling writes: "Often the process of studying the seismology of an area, selecting design earthquakes, and developing priorities and analysis techniques becomes so complex and bound up with sophistication that the (seismic) program's practical objectives are lost in the cracks between experts." How true! As a person who has been part of the earthquake engineering profession for over 40 years I have observed the rapid growth of sophisticated earthquake engineering analysis and design practices. As a former educator I applaud the great progress brought about by this thrust. Sophisticated "state of the art" analyses accomplished with understanding have brought about better earthquake resistive construction and have the potential to continue to do so. However, it is my personal opinion that the complexities of today's most advanced analytical techniques have outstripped the capabilities of the majority of structural engineering's practitioners. While many can manipulate the mathematics, most do not understand the results in physical terms. Over the last few decades public debate about the safety of nuclear facilities has intensified this problem. In the eyes of many, the potential intervenor is "demon god," and to appease this "god" an even increasing complexity of investigations, analyses and design practices have been served to it in the name of increased safety. Various proposals for appeasement have been to no avail. Opposing arguments have always favored more sophisticated and costly engineering practices and usually more studies have been required. Too often the result has been to put off relatively simple solutions to seismic problems. Where new construction is involved, costs increase with time but the hazard does not. Where existing poor construction is involved, hazards as well as costs grow with time. When the mitigation of serious seismic hazards is delayed by overly sophisticated reviews or studies, the practical objectives of seismic safety are simply not realized in timely way. During these times when socio-political issues often dominate public discussion of seismic safety, it is more important than ever to move ahead with practical and corrective action where the consequences of damaging earthquakes can be serious. The authors of this Seismic Safety Guide represent a cross section of the earthquake engineering profession, from state of the art to practitioner. I recommend their counsel in the chapters that follow for a practical course to seismic safety. Karl V. Steinbrugge

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