Many of you will know that the Council’s Seismic Working Group has issued a report that says that the prescriptive codes in the US and in Europe are inappropriate for the design of tall buildings in areas of severe seismicity. This is the UBC and IBC that I, like many of you, have used for the design of tall buildings for many years.
What surprises me is that I thought that this would be news and that the world would be asking why we were making such statements, and what does that mean about the performance of the existing tall buildings in our cities that are located in areas of high seismicity.
I had hoped that we could explain that progress was a good thing. In the past we have waited for a destructive earthquake to show us the weaknesses in our codes, but now, we are entering an era where we are able to predict building motion and analyze and simulate how buildings really work under extreme earthquakes. We need to apply this knowledge to buildings of the future to help ensure their performance.
Certainly if there was a massive earthquake and a tall building failed, the press would be demanding answers. However, other than a small article in ENR, which announced the findings there has been little about this issue in the press.
While the press has not shown much interest in the subject of tall buildings in earthquakes, we have already seen some changes. We have seen some developers in the Philippines commit to performance-based design based on the CTBUH recommendations and know of some large consultants who have now declared that they will no longer use the UBC or IBC for tall building design in areas of severe seismicity. Those who continue to use the codes shall have to assess if they will be criticized for their failure to consider the latest published guidance.
I am pleased to report that our effort to disseminate this knowledge has started with a presentation at the MEED conference in Abu Dhabi by Michael Willford, the co-chair of the Seismic Working Group, and by a presentation from me in Korea. I am confident that our work, together with the other leaders in the seismic design world, will result in a change in seismic design philosophy for tall buildings around the world.
We have also heard from the Sustainable Working Group that it is now in the process of developing a full team who will help to explain the issues of Tall Buildings and Sustainability. If you would like to contribute to this effort please contact me and I will put you in touch with the Working Group leaders.
I would like to congratulate our colleagues in Korea who have now formally established the Korean Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, under the chairmanship of Professor Sang Dae Kim, who is the Council’s country leader for Korea. This new Korean branch has been established with the full support of the Council and reflects the massive interest and involvement in tall buildings within Korea today. I was pleased to attend the Inauguration Ceremony for the KCTBUH last week in Seoul, and to present a paper at their inaugural 2008 International Symposium on Tall Buildings.
I look forward to seeing a rapid growth in the KCTBUH and to a greater presence and input from Korea into the understanding and development of tall building design, construction and technology on a world wide scale.