SEAOC and the USRC: A History of One Very Short Year

The SEAOC Board of Directors, on September 10, 2014, voted unanimously to reaffirm the organization’s commitment to participate as a founding member of the US Resiliency Council. The Board made this decision while recognizing that SEAOC is a diverse organization, and that some members have expressed reservations or objections about continuing that commitment.  However, a substantial number of members and nearly all organizational leaders have spoken strongly in favor of SEAOC’s continued engagement, and that is the course SEAOC will pursue. 

In January 2014, the SEAOC Board agreed to support in concept the broad goals of the USRC, which include deployment of an appropriate building rating system to evaluate expected building performance during and after various man-made and natural events, including earthquakes.

The Existing Buildings Committee of SEAONC, one of SEAOC’s Member Organizations, has been developing one such rating system – the Earthquake Performance Rating System (EPRS) – for several years.  That process has been open, thoughtful, and rigorous, and the subject of newsletter articles and convention presentations.  Although the EPRS is not specifically a SEAOC creation, it results from a great show of vision and enterprise by one of our Member Organizations.  SEAOC is pleased that the USRC is considering the EPRS for its program.  

In April, the Mayor of Los Angeles announced that the City of Los Angeles would be adopting a building rating system to evaluate the seismic vulnerability of the city’s building stock.  With this announcement, the USRC began recruiting founding members to provide start-up funding and help define the USRC organizational structure and operating polices.

In May and June 2014, the SEAOC Board of Directors and the boards of SEAOCC, SEAONC, SEAOSC and SEAOSD agreed to provide a total of $6,000 in financial support to the USRC over the next two years.  The Boards also agreed to recruit members to serve as representatives to the USRC Technical Advisory and Governance committees

In addition, at the USRC’s invitation, SEAOC convened an ad hoc committee of SEAOC members to develop recommendations for USRC certification of building evaluators.  The USRC intends to start certifying evaluators in December 2014 in advance of making the evaluation service available to the public in February 2015.  On September 10, 2014, the SEAOC Board voted unanimously to approve the ad hoc committee’s draft recommendations for the “Certification and Appeals Process.” It is understood that USRC will consider, adapt, and adopt all, part, or none of these recommendations as it sees fit.

SEAOC and its Member Organizations are proud to serve as founding members of the USRC.  As five among almost 50 founding members, SEAOC can play a key role in helping to shape the USRC’s objectives, policies, and the outcomes of its work. 

SEAOC and its MOs have each chosen several representatives to serve on the various USRC committees.  These representatives are the conduits for our organizations’ input.  Any members with questions or comments about the USRC’s work or our involvement with it should contact the President of your Member Organization board.  Your input then will be conveyed to the appropriate representative.  

In addition, at 12 noon Thursday, Oct. 30, SEAOC will offer an informational webinar updating members on the USRC’s work, SEAOC’s role in it, and how members can get involved. SEAOC President Ryan Kersting and the USRC’s Ron Mayes will be the presenters.   The webinar will be free to all members.  Watch for a formal announcement in the coming days. 

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