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News Release Nov. 30 2015 - The Official Launch of the USRC

Rating Building Performance in Earthquakes and Other Natural Disasters - Press Kit Material on Technical Resource Page


Contact: Ron Mayes

U.S. Resiliency Council

Launches Building Rating System

Rating Building Performance in Earthquakes and Other Natural Disasters


San Francisco, CA, 30th November 2015 – Today the US Resiliency Council (USRC) launched the USRC Earthquake Building Rating System. The Rating System assigns one to five stars for three performance measures—Safety, Damage (repair cost) and Recovery (time to regain basic function). This first-of-its-kind performance rating is based on decades of earthquake engineering research and observations of earthquake damage.

According to Ron Mayes, Acting Executive Director of USRC, “
With the USRC rating system, users will receive reliable and consistent information about a building’s expected performance during an earthquake and be able to use that information for purchasing or leasing decisions on the buildings in which we live, work and invest.  The USRC rating system allows an owner to specify the desired level of performance rather than accept by default the life safety performance of a building designed to the minimum level prescribed by the building code. We intend to expand our resiliency ratings to include other natural hazards such as hurricanes, tornadoes and floods in the near future.”

The USRC process is voluntary. There are two types of ratings. A USRC Verified Rating is used by building owners for promotional, marketing, and publicity purposes. A USRC Transaction Rating is used for transactional due diligence that accommodates both the schedule and cost demands of the leasing, sales, finance and insurance markets for commercial real estate. More information on the Council and its rating system is available at


The USRC includes 64 Founding Members made up of the leading professional organizations in earthquake and structural engineering, many large and small structural engineering firms, architects, contractors and hardware and software suppliers.  The Council’s mission is to establish and implement meaningful rating systems that describe the performance of buildings during earthquakes and other natural hazard events, to educate the general public to understand these risks, and to thereby improve societal resilience.


Quotes from Prominent Professionals follows:


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Mayor's Communication's Office - 213.978.0741 

In my Resilience by Design Plan, I called for a seismic safety rating system that would help our city not only survive a large earthquake, but better protect our residents and their property,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “USRC’s system answers that call. This measure will make all Angelenos safer by establishing a clear, transparent, and credible assessment of individual buildings' seismic readiness. It also incentivizes lenders and property owners to invest in top-notch structures that will stay standing after an earthquake. Like the LEED Green Building Rating System, a high earthquake rating will better attract investors and tenants, alike. By taking these kinds of steps, Los Angeles will continue to lead the way in seismic preparedness, resilience and safety.”

Dr. Lucile Jones Seismologist with the US  Geological Survey and former Science Advisor to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.  - 

Across the Nation, people are making significant financial decisions about buildings often without adequate information about the vulnerability of those buildings to earthquakes. The USRC Rating System is credible, consistent and transparent and would make a better foundation for those critical decisions.

 Chris D Poland Consulting Engineer,   NIST Disaster Resilience Fellow,   Member, National Academy of Engineers -

The USRC is poised to fill one of the key missing links needed to create Disaster Resilient Communities. The USRC rating system will provide transparent information on the level of safety and functionality from each rated building; information that reliable mitigation and recovery plans can be based on.

Greg Michaud - Chairman of the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council and Head of Real Estate Finance, Voya Investment Management - 

Seismic due diligence is very important to the commercial lending and real estate industries. Many in the commercial real estate industry consider the current state of PML reporting to be fractured: lacking consistency, credibility, and professional licensing verification. Just as the accountants created the PCAOB (Public Company Audit Oversight Board) to provide credibility to their members audit reports, I am encouraged that the structural engineering profession is finding ways, such as the USRC, to provide consistency, audit procedures and a revocable certification to those who prepare this critical piece of transactional due diligence”


David A. Friedman, SE, Senior Principal, Emeritus CEO & Chair of the Board - Forell / Elsesser Engineers, - 

I believe in the importance of the US Resiliency Council to provide a long-needed tool for educating the public in understanding and appreciating seismic safety and resiliency in the buildings where we live, work and play.


Thomas Tobin, Tobin and Associates, Public Policy Expertise

The USRC mission is consistent with my personal philosophy, which is based on the belief that people should be empowered to make informed decisions regarding earthquake safety and performance. People therefore have a right to understand risk—the hazards from, and the vulnerability and expected performance of the buildings they use—and the consequences for their values.


Sorrel Hanson Senior Engineering Specialist with FM Global  -

I have observed clients worldwide take on substantial risk due to misconceptions about their buildings’ expected performance in disasters. I believe that consistent and credible ratings are critical to dispel myths and support effective resilience efforts.


Michael Bade Associate Vice Chancellor - Capital Programs at the University of California San Francisco -

I support the mission and goals of the USRC because I believe it is of great importance to achieve greater public understanding of the nuances of building and infrastructure resiliency in the face of the threat of natural disasters such as earthquakes, storms, and fires. I believe that a more nuanced rating system or systems would aid in achieving this goal.


Dr. Sharyl Rabinovici, Disaster Policy Consultant - 

We hope that people come to rely on USRC ratings when they buy a building in the same way that people now rely on 5-star safety ratings when they buy a car. It's a different, more market-based approach than having the government mandate that certain owners do a retrofit.