Bureau of Reclamation Banner

Executive Orders, Public Laws, and Federal Standards Briefing Bulletins, Guidelines, and Implementation Plans Seismic Risk Reduction Process (Program Process) Contact Information Resource Links Online Orders
Step 1 - Building Inventory (Property) Process Step 2 - Rapid Visual Screening Process Step 3 - Seismic Evaluation Process Step 4 - Risk Analysis Process Step 5 - Peer Review and Planning Refinement Process Step 6 - Rehabilitation Action Plan Process Step 7 - Final Risk Reduction Design and Planning Process

Program Process-Step 3 - Seismic Evaluation Process

The BSSP completes a seismic evaluation on all buildings receiving poor Rapid Visual Screening (RVS) scores.  The BSSP utilizes Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidelines for the seismic evaluation of existing buildings.  These guidelines are updated regularly and the BSSP adopts and uses the updated tools as shown below.

The comprehensive evaluations include consideration of structural, nonstructural, foundation, geologic, and site issues.  If deficiencies are identified, a rehabilitation concept and cost estimate are prepared.  The evaluations are completed in approximately 6 weeks by structural engineers from Reclamation's Technical Service Center, as well as Reclamation's Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contractors.

A simplified approach to evaluations of buildings in low seismic zones is used.  The nonreimbursable cost of the evaluations is funded by the BSSP and the results are transmitted to the Regional and Area Offices.

For a visual overview of the Seismic Evaluation Process refer to the coordinating Seismic Evaluation Flowchart:

Seismic Evaluation Tools and Timeframes Adopted by the BSSP

  • FEMA 178 - Prior to October 1998
  • FEMA 310 - Prior to March 2000
  • ASCE 31 - After March 2000

Note:  For a more detailed list on the history, evolution, and timeframes in which the BSSP adopted and used these and other guidelines, standards, and tools for seismic evaluations and rehabilitations, refer to the "Building Seismic Safety Program Guidelines and Standards" page.

[The main link to this referred page is located in the first paragraph on the "Briefing Bulletins, Guidelines, and Implementation Plans" page, which can always be found via the links near the top of the page or in the left-hand column.]

Finish Removal and Repair

In some cases, interior and exterior finishes hide many or all of the structural elements of a building.  If a complete set of drawings are not available for these buildings, the engineer will be forced to assume certain conditions in order to proceed with the seismic evaluation.

In certain high-risk buildings, the completion of a seismic evaluation using assumed conditions would be counter-productive because the assumptions would have to be verified before the project could progress.

The Finish Removal and Repair (FR&R) plan can be used during this Seismic Evaluation Process      (Step 3) to investigate and obtain sufficient detail so that assumptions regarding a building's structural systems will not be necessary during this process or the Structural Rehabilitation Phase in the Final Risk Reduction Design and Planning Process (Step 7).

Back to Building Seismic Safety Program (BSSP) Homepage Back to Seismic Risk Reduction Process (Program Process) Back to Seismic Risk Reduction Process (Program Process) Flowchart Back to Top