Six Months Since Napa: Seismic Protection of Nonstructural Components

AIA East Bay invites Chapter members to join their February program.

Date: Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Time: 5:30pm, wine and cheese reception to follow
Location: AIA East Bay, 1405 Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612 (map)
Registration: Please Click Here to Register $16 for AIA members and employees of East Bay Chapter Member Firms; $21 for non-members;
Chapter members can register with promo code EERI to receive the AIA member rate of $16.

1.5 CES LUs

Six months since the South Napa earthquake, this symposium will address the topic of nonstructural protection. Our panel of experts will discuss some of the key design and engineering issues identified in the earthquake’s aftermath.


Janiele MaffeiJaniele Maffei, S.E., California Earthquake Authority. Janiele is Chief Mitigation Officer of the California Earthquake Authority in Sacramento, California. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where she obtained her AB degree in architecture and an MS in civil engineering. Maffei is a registered structural engineer who has worked in the earthquake engineering industry for over 30 years. Her experience includes the design of new building structures and seismic strengthening of existing structures. She designed, launched and is now operating the Earthquake Brace + Program for the CEA, which provides resources and knowledge to homeowners trying to retrofit their wood-frame homes.

71563955Maryann Phipps, S.E., Estructure. Maryann has over 30 years of experience evaluating, designing and renovating buildings in California. She assists both public and private clients understand and address the risks associated with earthquake hazards. Maryann specializes in structural design and seismic restraint of nonstructural components for hospitals and laboratories, including acute care departments, medical office buildings, and research and learning facilities. She is professionally very active in the engineering community and is a regular speaker on the subjects of earthquake performance and the seismic protection of building components.

parra-rogerRoger Parra, S.E., Degenkolb. Roger’s experience includes design of new structures and seismic strengthening of existing structures. He also has strong experience in seismic analysis and seismic evaluations of existing structures. Roger has an extensive portfolio in highly specialized facilities such as manufacturing sites and laboratories. He has worked at length implementing the seismic upgrade program for technology sector clients.

Support your local student chapter!

Support your local student chapters to participate in the 2015 Seismic Design Competition

It is time to repeat last year’s successful initiative to connect the local EERI student chapters that are participating in the annual Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition with potential sponsors to help fund travel and accommodation to the EERI Annual Meeting in Boston.

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, San Jose State University, San Francisco State University, and Stanford University, are planning to participate in the 2015 Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition, and are looking to travel to Boston at the end of March. 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 Boston. The teams will have to submit their final registration by February 13th 2015. So don’t delay your action!

San Jose State University

Team contact: Mary Nguyen

Since summer 2014, San Jose State’s team has been hard at work recruiting and preparing for a triumphant return to the Seismic Design Competition in 2015. This year’s team of 13 motivated students has dedicated countless hours a week to improving their understanding of seismic design and of modelling and analysis using SAP 2000 and Revit. In early December, the team wrapped up their Design Phase, which consisted of research into architecture and bracing systems and weekly meetings to optimize the structural design and model. Construction began early-January, and is projected to be completed mid-February.

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.

The San Jose State team hopes to raise an additional $5,000 of their $6,500 budget, which will sponsor eight students.

For a detailed funding proposal, please contact the team captain.

Stanford University

Team contact: Miro Vujicevic

StanfordSeismicTeamPhotoStanford’s team started out in early September with the recruitment of new members. This year they prioritized recruiting early in the school year due to a lack of manpower the previous year. Due to aggressive advertisement efforts by last year’s team members, they managed to surpass the goal of doubling the team size. The Stanford team currently has 9 active and dedicated members who are motivated civil engineering majors. They are supported by several faculty and graduate student advisers who’s help has been invaluable.

Since the team size increased, after the initial period of design development, they broke up into 3 sub-teams with specific tasks: Structural Analysis, Construction, and Fabrication. Around the middle of last quarter, the sub-teams came together to construct one full scale model and shook it on a shake table as they would during the competition. The shaking was a success and the team learned what about the design worked and what failed. Over Winter Break, the Structural Analysis team made some improvements to the design based on the shake table testing and reported that the new design placed the model in a very good area of the earthquake response spectra provided by the EERI SDC Committee.

The team is looking forward to finishing the tower and seeing it perform at the competition this spring in Boston!

University of California, Berkeley

Team contact: Henry Teng

UC Berkeley SDC teamThe 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 30 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 won second place overall in the EERI Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition in Anchorage, Alaska, and in 2013, they were awarded the 2013 Egor Popov Award for Structural Innovation, which recognizes the best use of technology and/or structural design to resist seismic loading.

Full of energy and excitement, this year’s team devotes many hours each week to construction, analysis, and testing of their entry. They look forward to proudly representing Berkeley at the 2015 competition in Boston, MA.

The UC Berkeley team hopes to raise an additional $2,000 out of their $9,000 budget, which will sponsor nine students.

San Francisco State University

Team contact: Fiorella Vasquez

SFSU SDC pictureThe SFSU Seismic Design Team, the SeismiGators, is composed of 9 Civil Engineering students. The team started meeting in May of 2014 and has had regular meetings since July to brainstorm design ideas and plan milestones throughout this academic year. They came up with two potential designs based on the official rules for the 2014 Seismic Competition. Before analyzing those designs, the team first constructed two short simple frame structures to test. These have allowed review of AutoCAD, SAP2000, and ETABS which are crucial programs for analysis.

Once the 2015 Official Rules came out team meetings became more frequent, and adjustments were made to the design. During this Winter Break they met at least 4 to 5 times per week. The team is currently putting together a first full size test structure that implements a modified construction system from a previous SFSU Seismic Team to further ease the gluing of the structure. Each team member is committing a minimum of 3 hours to constructing the test model. These tests prepare the team for setting up the final structure that will be sent to Boston.

The SFSU team has a budget of $11,000, and is looking to raise an additional $5,000 to bring all 9 team members to Boston.

You can find more information about the SFSU Seismic Team at and donate directly through the GoFundMe Campaign at

EERI NC Chapter and Member Contributions at February Chapter Meeting

In addition to sending a solicitation to our members, the EERI NC Chapter will highlight the Seismic Design Competition and the various local student chapter teams at out Chapter meeting on February 5, 2015. An at-the-door collection from meeting attendees will raise funds to sponsor the teams, and our Chapter will match the proceeds of the collection. 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.

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