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Press Kit for News Release on USRC Launch

Background and Quotes from Prominent Professionals plus pdf Press Kit

The USRC rating system provides information on safety, damage and recovery of buildings in earthquakes and eventually in other natural hazards. This first of its kind performance rating is based on decades of earthquake engineering research and observations of earthquake damage. The USRC audits ratings to assure consistent results and prevent manipulation. With the USRC rating system, architects, owners, tenants, buyers and sellers, lenders, insurers and policy makers can finally get reliable and consistent information about a building’s expected performance during an earthquake and get a competitive edge in the market place.  

·  Value - Because it includes information not only on building safety but damage (repair cost), and recovery (time to regain function) as well.

·  Consistency - Because USRC certified engineers perform a USRC rating and national standards are used to evaluate the building..

·     Credibility - Because rating submissions are subject to a technical review by USRC certified reviewers.

A Building Rating System is a Key Part of Corporate and Community Based Resilience Plans

·        Why is resilience important - Owners, architects, tenants, brokers, buyers, lenders, and insurers need to know how safe their buildings are, what will need to be repaired, and how to plan for long term mitigation to reduce losses and down time. This is the information the USRC Rating System is designed to provide.

·        Resilience is a measure of how quickly a community/city/region recovers from failures – see Mayor Garcetti’s report on Resilience by Design for Los Angeles City.

·        Resilience is Different to Sustainability - LEED certified buildings in Hurricane Sandy were designed to have lower impacts on the environment but not for the environment to have lower impacts on them.

Who Will Use the Rating System?

Owners, Architects, Governments and Institutions, Buyers, Lenders, Insurers and Tenants all benefit by knowing about the performance of buildings in earthquakes. Consequences like, safety, damage (cost of repairs) and recovery (the time required to basic functions) , provide important decision making information.  

Owners can decide whether additional measures should be incorporated into their design to improve the safety and damage performance of their buildings. They will have the information needed to plan for recovery and improve the value of buildings to occupants who require higher performance.

Architects can incorporate resilience ratings into the overall performance criteria for buildings and help their clients understand and balance various program elements with resilience and sustainability goals and costs.

Tenants can decide if building safety and recovery time meet their needs. They can use rating information to plan how to protect employees and business operations in earthquakes.

Governments and Institutions can use USRC ratings to identify buildings that meet their safety standards and would allow them to deliver critical services following earthquakes. They can make long-term strategic plans for reducing reconstruction costs and recovery time following a major disaster.

Lenders, Insurers, Buyers and Real Estate Brokers will use USRC ratings to make informed real estate transactions associated with lending decisions and defining insurance products. Building value and insurance premiums could reflect anticipated losses.


Quotes from Prominent Professionals follows:

 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.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s November 2014 Report “Resilience by Design” . Contact Marissa Aho - LA City Resilience Officer - marissa.aho@lacity.orgm


As Mayor, I have no greater responsibility than the public safety of Los Angeles. And here in our city, it’s not a question of if the so-called “Big One” will hit. It’s a matter of when. So we cannot afford to be complacent. The known risks – to life, property and our overall economy – are too great. This report recommends a voluntary rating sys­tem to encourage building owners to invest in the resilience of their buildings so that they not only stay standing after an earthquake, but so that they also remain functional.”

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.




Download : Press Release Package.pdf