Guest Speaker: James O. Malley
"Phase II of the FEMA/SAC steel project: Development of seismic design criteria and inspection procedures"

Welded moment resisting steel frame (WMSF) construction had been the system of choice for major commercial buildings in California for more than twenty-five years. This was largely due to the perceived capability of this system to provide superior earthquake performance as well as the relatively simple task of designing, detailing, and constructing these structures. Following the Northridge earthquake, unanticipated brittle fracture damage was found in a number of these structures. Emergency changes to the Uniform Building Code deleted prescriptive detailing provisions, substituting in their place performance specifications for the design of framing connections. This made design and construction of WMSF structures complex and difficult. The SAC Joint Venture, a partnership of the Structural Engineers Association of California, the Applied Technology Council, and California Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering was formed to perform needed research and develop practical design criteria for these structures.

In August, 1995, FEMA 267 (SAC, 1995a.) was published, providing criteria for complying with the emergency code change. While FEMA 267 provided much urgently needed information, design of steel frame structures remained a complex task. The SAC Joint Venture is currently engaged in the second phase of research into the behavior of MRSF structures, and development of engineering and inspection guideline documents. Scheduled for completion in late 1999, these documents will include the following individual publications:

1. Post-Earthquake Guidelines for Welded Moment Resisting Steel Frame Buildings
2. Evaluation and Upgrade Guidelines for Moment Resisting Steel Frame Buildings
3. Design Guidelines for New Moment Resisting Steel Frame Buildings
4. Quality Assurance and Control Guidelines for Steel Frame Construction

In addition to the guideline publications indicated above, a series of State-of-the-Art reports will be prepared containing a summary of the technical basis upon which the guidelines are based. These State-of-the-art reports will include reports on past performance of steel buildings in earthquakes, materials and fracture, welding and inspection, connection performance, system performance, and performance prediction and evaluation.