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The Role of the NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions in the Development of Nationwide Seismic Building Code Regulations: A Thirty-Five-Year Retrospective

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As one of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is commissioned by the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977 (PL 95-124) and subsequent reauthorizations including the latest Reauthorization Act of 2018 (PL 115-307) to assist implementation of new scientifc knowledge and research results for the NEHRP mission – to reduce the risks of life and property from future earthquakes in the United States. One effective way to protect the nation from future destructive earthquakes is to strengthen the national seismic-resistant building codes and to encourage their adoption and enforcement by the earthquake prone communities.The NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures plays a key role to introduce best available science and research results into the development and improvement of the building codes and design standards.
In retrospect, the NEHRP Recommended Provisions not only provided many critical steppingstones to form the foundation of modern U.S. seismic-resistant codes and standards, but also helped to explore new ways to advance earthquake science and risk reduction technologies. Over the past thirty-fve years, many scientists, researchers, engineers, code and standard experts, material industry experts, and professionals from the NEHRP agencies contributed to the success of the NEHRP Provisions. This report captures the history of the NEHRP Provisions and many great benefts it has introduced.
Most people living in the high earthquake hazard regions may not have much knowledge about the seismic-resistant building codes; however, they rely on the codes for protection against earthquakes. This report will help communicate the concepts and values of the seismic-resistant building codes and the code support resource – the NEHRP Provisions. FEMA is thankful to the Provisions Update Committee members and experts who contributed or reviewed this report, and the Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSS) of National Institute of Building Sciences for developing the ten editions of the NEHRP Provisions and this informative report for the broad customers of NEHRP.

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