Welcome To The Petra Post

Welcome to the Petra Post. A newsletter dedicated to informing Building owners, Architects, Engineers and Contractors of the design considerations when a project is subject to extreme environment events such as earthquakes, wind, and floods. In particular, we at Petra focus on the non-structural components in a building. The requirement to design non-structural components such as HVAC, plumbing, electrical, medical and other similar building systems to withstand earthquakes and high winds is a somewhat new hurdle for the AEC community. When people think of designing a building to withstand an earthquake, they typically think primarily of the structure. After all, if the building structure survives to live another day, then all is well and the design team has done its job... right? Not so fast. Mother nature dishes out extreme loads on the whole building, including its' contents. Designing the structure is on half the battle. Recent earthquakes have shown that while we have done fairly well with attention to the structure, we have not fared so well with non-structural components. 40% to 80% of the replacement costs of recent earthquakes have been for building components and systems, and economic loss due to down time can outweigh the initial capital cost of the entire building. Perhaps more importantly, public safety was put at risk due to closure of essential emergency facilities. It has been said that "...need is the mother of invention...". It is with this need in mind, that Petra Seismic Design was founded. PETRA is derived from the Greek word meaning stone or rock. In the sometimes "shaky" world of seismic and wind design, we at Petra Seismic Design build on a rock solid foundation of engineering experience, dedication, and reliability. We hope that the Petra Post will be a source for the AEC community that offers practical suggestions to help designers get their arms around what they need to do to meet code requirements for extreme incidents without busting the budget or draining away precious time.

Code Talk

Public safety was put at risk due to closure of essential emergency facilities. Not from building failure, but because of vital component failures. Consequently, heightened awareness has been given to the design of non-structural components to withstand extreme events. Codes have been ramped up and new requirements are being imposed on the AEC community in an effort to insure greater safety and reduced economic loss. But who has time to keep up with all the new rules and regulations. Our plates are already overflowing with the demands of going about our primary business. It has been said that "...need is the mother of invention...". It is with this need in mind, that Petra Seismic Design was founded. The Petra Post will carry a standing column just for code updates and issues.

S-E-E The Target

(S-E-E Safety considerations, Economic considerations, and Exposure considerations)

In order to be prepared to design a project that meets the challenges presented by earthquakes and other extreme event, you must "SEE" the target before you can know where to aim and what to shoot at. We use the acronym S E E to focus our sights on three main guiding principles that can help keep you on target to meet the real needs of a project with regard to extreme events that may be experienced by a building, while avoiding the two extremes of going off target - Doing nothing at one extreme, and doing superfluous overkill at the other extreme. Read more...

A Cooperative Effort

Please feel free to offer input. We welcome comments and articles from our readers. We are confident that many of our readers will have input that will be helpful to many and we hope that our newsletter can be a forum to disseminate their useful information. If you have something to say, send it in and we may include it in our next Petra Post. With the cumulative efforts of the whole AEC community, we will enable extreme event code compliant buildings to be built within budget.

Happy New Year!

We at Petra Seismic Design want to wish all the best for our friends and colleagues this holiday season. As we close out 2010, we are reminded how fortunate we are to work with and enjoy comradeship with such a great group. Relax, spend time with loved ones, and enjoy the season.

Thank you for your support,