Seismic Action Plan for Facilities Enhancement and Renewal


The Fault

The Hayward Fault, a part of the San Andreas Fault system, is the closest active fault to the campus, crossing through the eastern part of the campus. Earthquakes on the Hayward Fault in 1836 and 1868 produced strong ground motions and widespread damage in the Bay Area. The magnitudes of these events have been estimated at M7 and M6.5-7, respectively. Since the early 1800s major earthquakes also have been reported on the Calaveras Fault to the east of the Berkeley hills. In general, earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 6 occurred with epicenters within 20 miles of the UC Berkeley campus in 1836, 1838, 1865, 1868, 1898, 1906, 1911, and 1984. Therefore, the risk to human life and property from a major seismic event is expected to be especially severe.

Earlier Seismic Assessments of the Campus

An early study of state-owned buildings indicated that a significant number of the most hazardous buildings in California were on the Berkeley campus, and projects have been included in the campus’s capital improvement program to address this. The current five-year state-funded capital program is devoted almost exclusively to seismic projects. Corrections totaling approximately $250 million have already been completed or are funded and in progress, including the three high-rise residence hall complexes. All of these corrections are designed to bring the buildings to a rating of Good.

Seismic projects completed or in progress include South, Wheeler, California, McCone, Barker, North Gate, and University halls, Moffitt Library, Doe Library, the Hearst Memorial Mining Building, 2607 Hearst, 2401 Bancroft, 6701 San Pablo, Harmon Gymnasium, and University House. In addition, much more work has been done to mitigate nonstructural hazards. The assignable square feet (ASF) of these buildings is nearly 1.5 million, or 21 percent of the main campus space.

The Current Seismic Evaluation

Since adoption of The Regents’ Policy on Seismic Safety 20 years ago, several major seismic events have occurred in urban areas. The Loma Prieta, Northridge, and Kobe (Japan) earthquakes have provided a wealth of knowledge of seismicity and building behavior. With this new knowledge, and in consideration of the age of campus buildings, Berkeley’s proximity to the Hayward Fault, and its obligation to provide safe facilities for students, faculty, and staff, the Berkeley campus commissioned a new review of its buildings in the summer of 1997.

The 1997 Preliminary Seismic Evaluation, Phase 1 Report,* conducted jointly by three structural engineering firms (Degenkolb Engineers; Rutherford & Chekene, Consulting Engineers;f and Forell/Elsesser Engineers), analyzed the probable performance of campus structures under a major earthquake on the Hayward Fault. The three firms reviewed architectural and structural drawings of over 100 campus buildings, walked through each, and assigned a performance rating to each. The survey methodology included comprehensive peer review and utilized several earthquake/seismic rating models to ensure consistency.

The $250,000 survey has revealed that the amount of campus space in need of corrective seismic work represents approximately 27 percent of the main campus’s total ASF.

The following report outlines the magnitude of the problem, the planning issues involved, and implementation strategies being considered by campus leaders. It also identifies strategic planning considerations that provide a framework for decision making.

Plan of Action

Frequently Asked Questions

April 24, 1998

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