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The U.S. Resiliency Council® (USRC) and the Building Rating System

Paper Presented by Mayes and Reis at the 2015 ATC-SEI Conference


The notion that there is a disconnect between the anticipated performance of buildings in a major earthquake, and what the public understands or expects, is not new.  Bridging this communication gap has been discussed in a number of different forums, including U.S.-Japan workshops (ATC-JSCA, 2010, 2014 ).  The idea of a building rating system has arisen on a national level in the NEHRP Workshop on Meeting the Challenges of Existing Buildings (ATC-71, 2008), Prioritized Research for Reducing the Seismic Hazards of Existing Buildings (ATC-73, 2007), and Grand Challenges in Earthquake Engineering Research, A Community Workshop Report (National Academies, 2011).  Input on creating such a rating system was obtained in the FEMA-funded Workshop on a Rating System for the Earthquake Performance of Buildings (ATC-71-2, 2011).  The thought was that if the public could be made more aware of their potential seismic risk, they could be expected to make better-informed decisions on owning and leasing properties, and market forces would eventually drive the building design, management, and procurement process into more resilient seismic design.   


Seismic performance assessment techniques have reached level of sophistication and maturity that we now feel capable of distilling complex measures of performance into meaningful sound-bite information that is expected to be useful to owners, developers, tenants, lenders, and insurers in their building procurement transactions.  Efforts to develop a building rating system have included many technical and philosophical challenges, but the U.S. Resiliency Council (USRC) has formed a diverse coalition of technical organizations, engineering firms, individuals, industry supporters, and government agencies to develop a consensus-based approach to solving these challenges.  This paper describes the need for a  building rating system, the potential users, the information it provides and the measures that will be used to maintain the long term credibility of the system. Another paper in this session (Mayes and Reis 2015)   cover the goals and objectives, organization and founding principles of the USRC. Two additional papers describe the two evaluation methodologies (ASCE 31/41translation, Hohbach 2015 and FEMA P58, Haselton 2015) that will initially be used to determine the earthquake ratings.    

Download : SEI-ATC 2015 Conference Mayes and Reis, USRC and the Building Rating System.pdf