Publications shake up earthquake-resistant design

NIST releases the first in a series of reference publications addressing smart design of earthquake-resistant structures.

By Jenni Spinner September 5, 2008

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) offers a series of “techbriefs”– references that merge information on effectively designing earthquake-resistant buildings with up-to-date building code data. Released through the group’s National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), the series is geared toward structures in regions with high seismic activity.

Technical Brief No. 1 covers design of concrete-reinforced “special moment frames,” structural systems that consist of beams and columns with connections that transmit bending forces (moments) from the beams to columns and vice versa. The term “special” is used in the structural engineering community and model building codes to denote systems that are designed and detailed for use in geographic areas where seismic effects can be large.

NIST anticipates issuing one to three such briefs each year, all of which can be downloaded at .