We are planning to increase the structural strength of our building so it will meet the upcoming changes to the seismic building code requirements. The U.S. Geological Survey is updating their maps and those changes will take effect with the update in the building codes in California.
Perry Haviland, FAIA, is on the Structural Design/Lateral Forces Committee, which is part of the Code Change Committee that will be recommending changes to the California Building Standards Commission. Perry is currently reviewing our design, including the structural elements.
If we were planning to build this house and then sell it, we would simply meet the minimum code requirements and be done. However, since we are planning to live in the house for the next 15 years and we believe that a major seismic event will occur during that time, we will do our best to strengthen the various components of the structure without retrofitting any of the materials that have already been completed (e.g., our concrete and SIPs). Increasing the structural strength is part of our Durability Risk Assessment.
Under the LEED-H requirements, the Durability Planning prerequisite (ID 2.1) requires that our project team address durability explicitly in the home design by assessing durability risk factors and identifying and incorporating specific measures into the home’s design to address each factor. Our team completed the Durability Risk Assessment and, with us living less than five miles from the San Andreas fault line. We need to address the high risk of seismic activity.
We requested our structural engineer of record, Innovative Structural Engineering, to review and approve our proposed changes to increase the structural strength of our building. As part of that review, Shane Lothrop needs to know the spacing of the anchor bolts that are embedded in the top of the concrete wall between the atrium and the garage.
A digital camera and measuring tape tell the story nicely.