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ASTM's Seismic New Standards

Partner CEO Joe Derhake discusses the new standards on seismic risk assessment and how they represent “a big step” in helping engineers assess risks more consistently.

NEW YORK CITY—“I believe that our industry would be smart as a whole to invest in making our building stock more prepared.” That’s Joe Derhake, CEO of Partner Engineering & Science, Inc., speaking on a webinar his firm coproduced with and discussing the potential for billions of dollars in property damage due to a major earthquake.

As a basis of comparison, Derhake cited the 1994 Northridge earthquake that resulted in 57 deaths and $40 billion of damage, an amount that likely would be higher today given 22 years of inflation. Yet as ‘quakes go, it was relatively mild at 6.3 on the Richter scale. A $10-billion investment on the West Coast could potentially halve the property damage from a major ‘quake, he said.

Yet preparation—to be able to ask seismic engineers the right questions—was also something Derhake encouraged, especially in view of the revised standards and guidance for seismic risk assessments and Probable Maximum Loss reports, known as ASTM E2026-16a and E2557-16a. The recently published ASTM standards were a focal point of the 50-minute Partner/GlobeSt webinar Wednesday afternoon, titled “ASTM Shakes Things Up: Managing Seismic Risk in Today’s Regulatory Environment” and now available on demand.

Continue reading the GlobeSt blog here.