Research roundup: Rating resilience

Today’s research is tomorrow’s design. We’re asking researchers within Arup and beyond to describe their work and its potential applications. For our first post, San Francisco-based structural engineer Ibrahim Amulfti discusses the REDi rating system.

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What are you studying?

We’ve been developing guidelines for the resilience-based earthquake design of new buildings, which includes a holistic design, planning, and assessment approach for achieving beyond-code performance objectives. We call it the REDi Rating System.

The system echoes LEED’s structure, with platinum, gold, and silver tiers corresponding to the amount of downtime and financial loss an owner is willing to accept in the event of an earthquake. Engineers, architects, and owners can use the REDi guidelines to identify and mitigate all threats that may hinder an organization’s re-occupancy or business continuity objectives.

Why is this important?

The current requirements for new code-designed buildings mean they will likely suffer significant damage during the next big earthquake. Some of these buildings may not be repairable and many will not be useable. In the 21st century, we should be doing better. The REDi resilience objectives represent a step-change reduction in earthquake risk relative to the code.

In the 21st century, we should be doing better.

What are the potential implications for the future?

We hope to transform the way resilience is implemented in the built environment by making it much easier for building owners, developers, and architects to understand and apply the necessary design and planning measures for achieving better performance. Among other improvements to the conventional design approach, this would encourage and inspire structural and seismic engineers to develop more innovative solutions.

What are the next steps?

We’re hoping to partner with a certification organization to formally launch REDi in the mold of LEED. We’re also developing guidelines for other natural hazards, which we would envision becoming part of a multi-hazard suite of REDi guidelines.

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