Support your local student chapter!

Support your local student chapters to participate in the 2014 Seismic Design Competition

This year your EERI Northern California Chapter has been looking for ways to strengthen the ties with the five local EERI student chapters at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, San Jose State University, San Francisco State University, and Stanford University. One area where the students felt we could provide some support was in connecting them with potential sponsors to help fund participation in the annual Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition that is held at the EERI Annual Meeting.

The objective of the Seismic Design Competition (SDC) is to design, model and construct a cost-effective 16-29-story tall scaled balsa wood model building that can resist shake table testing with three ground motions of increasing intensity. Each year approximately 40 teams compete, representing universities across the globe. In addition to the performance of the model under ground shaking, the teams will be scored based on various other criteria, including the prediction of peak roof drift and acceleration based on computer-modeling, the quality of their presentation and poster, and the building architecture. If you have ever attended an EERI Annual Meeting, you’ll remember the excitement the SDC adds to the event, and what a great experience this if for the students.

Four of the Northern California EERI student chapters, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, San Jose State University, and Stanford University, are planning to participate in the 2014 Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition, and are looking to travel to Anchorage in July. Please read on to learn more about each team, and we encourage you to contact the team contacts listed to make a (tax deductible!) donation. Donations large and small will allow the teams to bring all the members that worked so hard on designing and building the models all the way to Alaska. The teams will have to confirm their participation, including the number of attendees, by May 15th 2014. So don’t delay your action!

San Jose State University

Team contact: Tim Hendrickson

SJSUEERI-SJSU participates in the Seismic Design Competition to gain design experience in earthquake engineering. The SDC helps members develop teamwork, ethics, and leadership skills, in addition to challenging their engineering knowledge and creativity.

In the past, EERI-SJSU teams have performed very well at the annual competition. The 2010 team was awarded the Egor Popov Structural Innovation award, and the 2011 team the Fazlur Khan Award for Architectural Design.

This year’s team hopes to continue the trend, and is working diligently to design a winning structure. They are currently working on the structural design, and will begin the construction phase by the end of April.

The SJSU team is looking to raise approximately $4000 to bring 4 students to Anchorage.

Look at San Jose State University’s funding proposal here.

Stanford University

Team contact: Curtis Fong

StanfordStanford’s team started out in September recruiting new members, and formed a team of 6 members for the 2014 Seismic Design Competition.

The team decided to design, construct and test two full scale models in order to improve their intuition about which structural systems work and which do not. Both built models were tested using a table-top shake table in January. The team turned the testing into a small outreach event, where a group of elementary school children studying earthquakes was invited to watch.

Since January, the team has settled on a final design, which was optimized using ETABS analysis on the tower to shift the structural response to the optimal area of the spectral response curves provided to by the competition.

In the last four weeks, the team has started and finished laser cutting the structural members, and is now transitioning to gluing components together in preparation for construction of the final tower.

The Stanford team is looking to raise sufficient funds to bring 3 students to Anchorage.

Please contact Curtis to obtain a copy of Stanford University’s design proposal.

University of California, Berkeley

Team contact: Mara Minner

UCBerkeleyThe Cal Seismic Design Team is a group of highly motivated Civil Engineering and Architecture students focused on structural design, modeling and analysis. Comprised of around 25 undergraduates, the team is the epicenter of the study and practice of earthquake engineering among undergraduate students at UC Berkeley.

Last year, the UC Berkeley team was awarded the 2013 Egor Popov Award for Structural Innovation, recognizing the best use of technology and/or structural design to resist seismic loading.

Full of energy and excitement, this year’s team has devoted many hours each week to construction, analysis, and testing of their entry and the team is looking forward to representing Berkeley at the competition in Alaska. They got off to a great start, as their design proposal was ranked in the top 10 submissions.

The UC Berkeley team is looking to raise an additional $4,100 of their $11,200 budget, which will bring all 9 students to Anchorage.

Additional information for UC Berkeley’s team is available here.

University of California, Davis

Team contact: Justin Watkins

UC Davis Seismic Design Team 04.28.2014The 8 members of the UC Davis team have been working the entire academic year in preparation for the competition. The time to date was split into three phases: Planning, Design, and Construction. Weekly meetings during the Planning phase included research into building systems, architecture, and private lectures to learn earthquake response basics. Weekly Design meetings included iteration in SAP2000 to minimize deflection and building weight while maximizing our building’s rentable floor area. During the Construction phase, the team has met three times weekly to build and attach the model’s foundation, floors, and core wall members. Concurrently, each team member has taken coursework in Structural Dynamics, Earthquake Engineering, Foundation Design, and Building Design in order to fully understand the structural behavior.

As the competition date draws closer, the team can proudly say that they have accelerated their understanding of lateral load path, bracing design, SAP2000 analysis, Revit, Response Spectrum analysis, and more. The students on the team have become a very close group of friends, fully committed to the competition. This competition has inspired them as engineers and motivated them as students. The team is excited to watch the structure get built piece by piece, and expect greats results come Alaska!

The UC Davis team is looking to raise an additional $1,350 of their $4,100 budget, which will bring 3 students to Anchorage.

Please contact Justin to obtain a copy of UC Davis’s design proposal.

EERI NC Chapter and Member Contributions at April Chapter Meeting

In addition to sending this solicitation to our members, the EERI NC Chapter highlighted the Seismic Design Competition and the various local student chapter teams at out Chapter meeting on April 24, 2014. An at-the-door collection from meeting attendees raised $500 to sponsor the teams, and our Chapter has promised to match the proceeds of the collection, yielding a total $1,000 donation! The money will be split between the various local student chapter teams

We look forward to growing these and other initiatives over the next few years, and make this one more way for the local EERI Student Chapters to get funding for participation in the seismic design competition.

April 2014 Chapter Meeting

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Join your Chapter Colleagues for an interesting presentation on Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Program at California Geological Survey.

Time: 5:30-7:30pm (5:30pm Networking; 6.00pm Program)
Where: EPICENTER is located at 245 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94103. (Map)
RSVP: by Wednesday April 23rd. Please RSVP so that we order enough food; however, don’t hesitate to bring along a suddenly inspired co-worker at the last minute!

Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Program at California Geological Survey


Tim McCrink is a Supervising Engineering Geologist at the California Geological Survey where he manages the Seismic Hazards Program.  Tim has worked on earthquake and related geologic hazards for the past 26 years.


April24, 2014 Meeting The Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Act was established by the State Legislature following the 1971 San Fernando earthquake. In the 42 years that the program has been operating, ‘Special Studies Zones’ or ‘zones of required investigation’ have been placed around approximately 5,000 miles of faults on 553 individual maps.  Also in that time, zone maps have evolved in both style and content, methodologies have improved, and nearly one third of the zone maps have been revised, partially due to investigations triggered by the presence of zones.  This presentation will cover a brief history of the Alquist-Priolo Fault Zoning Program and a description of how it works, recent attempts to address limitations through a Technical Advisory Committee convened by the State Mining and Geology Board, challenges still facing the program, and possible future directions.


Register today at:

EERI Northern California Chapter | c/o EERI National | 499 14th Street Suite 320 | Oakland, CA 94612-1934 USA |