Structural Engineering Society of British Columbia

Seminar Downloads and Recordings

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March 1, 2017

2017 Annual General Meeting Keynote Presentation: A Unique Structural Engineering Perspective

Sam Price is a Consultant and Founder Member of the esteemed structural engineering firm Price & Myers. An ex-Arup engineer, Sam co-founded his own practice in 1978.

Regarded internationally as a leading engineer, Sam is very much the master craftsman known to leave his distinctive stamp on everything he touches. Sam is a Fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Institution of Civil Engineers, and the Royal Academy of Engineering. He has taught regularly at Cambridge University and at the Architectural Association in London.

In his keynote address, Sam talked about Price & Myers' unique perspective on structural engineering...

Price & Myers projects cover an unusually wide range – both in size and type. The firm's diverse portfolio displays an amazing contrast of aesthetics and outstanding structures together with latest technology and traditional crafts, applied to everything from outstanding modern designs to the refurbishment of ancient monuments – all done with a class of signature Sam Price influence.

Sam's notable works range from the ultra-elegant expressive form of the new Bishop Edward King Chapel at Oxfordshire; through the creation of a modern landmark from the ancient ruins at Astley Castle in Warwickshire; via a classic three-storey residence with its dramatic grand staircase in Queens Drive London; to the breathtaking 55m stainless steel Meads Reach Footbridge in Bristol – all simply stunning. He embraces 'new build', restoration and adaptations; each treated attentively with an apparent simplicity that often belies the complex engineering lurking beneath propelled by a unique Perspective best described as: curious, thoughtful and rigorous, from first principles, creating sophisticated construction solutions integrating structural mechanics and architectural design with scientific knowledge and techniques from diverse fields including aerospace engineering, computer programming, and digital manufacture.

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Presenter:Sam Price, MA FREng FICE FIStructE HonFRIBA
Founding Member of Price & Myers, London, UK

April 6, 2016

Balance and Harmony

The stars are aligning in the universe of structural engineering. Peer-reviewed, performance-based, high-rise designs are becoming commonplace, proving in the market that sophisticated (non-prescriptive) engineering adds value. Incremental Dynamic Analysis, via FEMA P695, sets the stage to understand collapse risk, offering the opportunity to cull deficient structural systems and introduce better systems. Finally, the FEMA P58 loss-estimating methodology connects the circuit between design (the world of engineers) and resilienc (the world of our clients).

This talk presented a system-based approach for design of new buildings to achieve explicit performance objectives. Desired mechanisms (in balance and harmony) are created by proportioning relationships. The outcome is an efficient and powerful prescriptive means for performance-based design.

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Presenter: David Mar, SE, President, Mar Structural Design (California)

March 10, 2016

2016 Annual General Meeting Keynote Presentation: Design in the Digital Age

Tristram Carfrae is an Arup Fellow and Deputy Chairman at Arup. A Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, he is recipient of the most prestigious GOLD Award in 2014 from the Institution of Structural Engineers.

Regarded internationally as a leading engineer, Tristram has been responsible for many award-winning structures, including the Beijing Olympics Aquatic Centre, Singapore's Marina Bay double helix bridge, and the AAMI Park Stadium in Melbourne, to name a few.

In collaborating with some of the world's best architects, Tristram has the reputation for challenging the established way of doing things; for exploring better solutions; and moulding both materials and people to his vision. He believes that good buildings should consume less materials, energy, time and money; while at the same time being beautiful and providing greater amenity for society.

In his keynote address, Tristam addressed the big topic of designing with computers and put things in perspective...

It is relatively common to hear the senior members of our profession exhort our more junior members to "stop using computer models", particularly early in the design process. However, a computer analysis programme is really just a superior calculator (slide rule or log table)! Then why shouldn’t they be used by engineers to get a fast appreciation of the structural behaviour of their idea? And what is it about making a quick sketch and a hand calculation that makes it so more informative than a computer model - which is replete with stresses, deflected shapes, loads, reactions and many other informative results? Surely what we really want is the wise use of computer models, even early in the design process. A virtual exploration of the design space, many models of different complexity, cross checking for fundamental structural behavior, sensitivity studies against various input parameters … to name a few of the different strategies available. I think that our senior members should try and learn the capabilities of modern computing so that they can teach their colleagues how to get the most out.

Tristram's passion to extrude the best in efficiency, elegance and form is displayed by his bold approach to tackle and overcome the oft-overlooked basic inhibitions. His presentation will centre on the wise use of computer models as an inherent part of the design process revealing how it can be used effectively early in design to explore structural behavior, conduct sensitivity studies, and innovate en-route. Tristram believes that structural engineers should continue to understand modern computer modelling so that they can obtain the most benefit from its many capabilities.

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Presenter:Tristram Carfrae, RDI MA FREng FTSE FIEAust MIStructE
Deputy Chairman and Fellow at Arup, London, UK

November 4, 2015

Latest Research Studies in Structural and Wind Engineering at the University of Western Ontario

An extensive research program on various applications in Structural and Wind Engineering is currently underway at The University of Western Ontario (UWO) with their Insurance Lab for Better Homes (ILBH) and the WindEEE dome facilities enabling full and model scale testing of structures under various types of wind storms. The facilities have about 120 fans that can be controlled separately, presenting the first and only three-dimensional wind testing chamber in the world.

The seminar presented a number of unique and exciting projects currently in progress at both facilities.

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Presenter: Dr. Ashraf A. El Damatty, P.Eng., FCSCE
Chair of Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Western Ontario

October 14, 2015

Findings of the Canadian Engineering Reconnaissance Team after the 2015 Gorkha, Nepal Earthquake

A team of Canadian engineers and geoscientists visited Nepal after the April 25, 2015 Gorkha earthquake (M 7.8). The earthquake and the subsequent aftershocks caused more than 8,700 fatalities and damage or collapse of more than 600,000 buildings, including the UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The team members presented field observations and discussed potential follow-up activities for Canadian earthquake engineering community with regards to technical capacity building for earthquake reconstruction. Lessons of relevance to Canadian engineering practice was also be presented.

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Presenters :
Dr. Svetlana Brzev, PhD, P.Eng., BCIT
Dr. Bishnu Pandey, PhD., BCIT
Dr. Upul Atukorala, PhD. P.Eng., Golder Associates
Dr. Carlos Ventura, PhD, P.Eng., P.E., UBC
John H Pao, M.Eng., P.Eng., Struct.Eng., Bogdonov Pao Associates

March 4, 2015

2015 Annual General Meeting Keynote Presentation: They took a dead heap of stones...

Chris Wise is the Director and Structural Engineer at Expedition Engineering in London, UK. He co-founded Expedition in 1999, after a successful career with Arup - becoming their youngest director. Expedition has a trail-blazing ethos and runs as part of the Useful Simple Trust, an employee-benefit trust without human shareholders, which Chris chairs.

In his keynote address, Chris used Plutchik's wheel of emotion to reflect on some of his professional challenges and triumphs. Chris followed up with an equally impressive talk titled "The artist, the artisan, this philosopher" at the next morning's SEABC President's Breakfast.

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Presenter: Chris Wise, RDI, FREng, FICE, HonFRIBA, MIStructE
Director, Structural Engineer at Expedition Engineering, London, UK

January 16, 2015

2014/2015 Updates to NBCC and CSA Structural Design Standards

This full day seminar presented updates found in NBCC 2015 Part 4, as well as the recently published updated CSA material design standards. Topics discussed included:
• "When does it come into effect?" Consensus on application of codes and standards between code cycles.
• NBCC 2015 Part 4: Updates to snow and wind loads, fire design, and requirements for structural drawings.
• NBCC 2015 Part 4: Updated earthquake ground motions and commentary on time history record selection.
• NBCC 2015 Part 4: Updated seismic base shear calculations.
• NBCC 2015 Part 4: New section on base isolation and supplemental energy dissipation.
• A23.3-14: Updates to Clause 21 (Seismic Design) in A23.3 Design of Concrete Structures.
• S16-14: Updates to S16 Design of Steel Structures.
• O86-14: Updates to O86 Engineering Design in Wood. Special focus on CLT and connection design aspects.
• S304-14: Updates to S304 Design of Masonry Structures.

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Presenters :
Perry Adebar, P.Eng.
Svetlana Brzev, P.Eng.
Robert Malczyk, Struct. Eng.
Bill McEwen, P.Eng.
Andy Metten, Struct. Eng.
Grant Newfield, Struct. Eng.
Andrew Seeton, P.Eng..
John Sherstobitoff, P.Eng.
Carlos Ventura, P.Eng

November 7, 2014

Post-Earthquake Damage Assessment of Buildings

This half-day seminar reviewed the role of the structural engineer in post-earthquake damage assessments following a major earthquake affecting the Vancouver region. It provided an overview of provincial and municipal emergency response frameworks and followed a review of the building damage assessment process which includes the following phases:
• Windshield Inspections
• Rapid Damage Assessments (ATC-20)
• Detailed Assessments
• Engineering Assessments

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Presenters :
Doug Smith, P.Eng. (ATC-20 Trainer, City of Vancouver
Pat Ryan, P.Eng. (Deputy Chief Building Official, City of Vancouver)
Daniel Stevens (Director of Emergency Management, City of Vancouver)
Steven Bibby (Senior Manager of Security and Emergency Services, BC Housing)

April 23, 2014

Public-Private Partnerships from the Structural Engineer's Perspective

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) have featured prominently in many of BC's transportation projects over the past 15 years. This seminar provided two engineers' perspectives on the PPP delivery model. Meiric Preece provided his senior-level view as a technical director on a number of recent Lower Mainland transit projects. His presentation included an overview of the Evergreen Line and the Ministry of Transportation's new seismic design requirements. Keith Holmes provided his perspective of PPPs from inside the design delivery trenches. He reflected on his s experience on the Port Mann Highway 1 Project (Onshore Works), as well as surveyed feedback from several structural engineers involved in the design and construction phases of PPP projects.

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Presenters :
Meiric Preece, P.Eng., MMM Group
Keith Holmes, P.Eng., MMM Group

March 29, 2014

2014 Annual General Meeting Keynote Presentation: Developing the Next Generation of Structural Engineers

Glenn R. Bell has been with Simpson Gumpertz and Heger since 1975, starting as a design structural engineer and assuming his current role as CEO in 1995. As a structural engineer, Glenn has had responsibility for major design works such as SpaceShip Earth, the geodesic sphere at Walt Disney World Epcot Center, and the Aga Khan Medical Complex in Karachi Pakistan. Glenn also has led major structural failure investigations such as the walkways collapse at the Kansas City Hyatt Regency and served as an adviser to SGH's team that investigated the 9/11 WTC 1 & 2 Tower Collapses for NIST.

In his keynote address, Glen touched on many issues, including the challenges of globalization, energy and sustainability, overspecialization and fragmentation of the AEC industry, and the dizzying pace of knowledge creation and dissemination. The future promises unprecedented opportunity and challenge in the structural engineering community.

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Presenter: Glenn R. Bell, PE, SE (IL), CE (UK), F. ASCE, F. SEI, F. IStructE
CEO Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

February 24, 2014

Professional Practice Lessons from the Christchurch Earthquake

The Christchurch earthquake has taught several lessons that are particularly relevant to British Columbia with respect to the legal framework, design/building codes, construction standards and seismicity.

The presentation summarizes the impact of earthquakes on buildings and key lessons learnt from three perspectives:
• Technical lessons for structural design engineers.
• Practise lessons for small and large building design consultancies.
• Lessons for the engineering profession in BC.

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Presenter : Dale H. Turkington, B.Ap.Sc., M.E., FIPENZ, CPEng (NZ)

January 22, 2014

Base Isolation

The West Coast of Canada is in a highly seismically-active region known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire". Past earthquakes in this region (New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, USA, Mexico and Chile) have caused tremendous life losses and property damage. This results to hefty financial burden to the facility owners and cripples their ability to recovery after the earthquake. With high probability of experiencing large intensity earthquakes in Vancouver, it is crucial to building structures to withstand the inevitable earthquake shaking with minimal financial impacts and able to be recovered efficiently. This can be achieved by utilizing innovative structural components and systems, such as base-isolation and added energy dissipation technologies.

Base isolation and energy dissipation devices have been well established in United States, Japan, China and many other earthquake prone countries. However such technology has not been well adopted in Canada. This presentation will highlight the base isolation and energy dissipation technologies.

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Presenter : Dr. Tony Yang, P.Eng., Assistant Professor, UBC Department of Civil Engineering

September 11, 2013

Pushover Analysis

The pushover analysis is a tool for designing new bridges as well as assessing and retrofitting seismically deficient structures. With more and more emphasis being laid on displacements (rather than forces), this analysis provides a convenient and simple approach to seismic analysis and design. This seminar presented the concept of the pushover analysis, different ways of carrying out this analysis (such as using linear analysis employing a stepwise approach or the fully automated non‐linear approach), and its utility (for new designs and retrofits).

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Presenter : Saqib Khan, S.E., P.E., P.Eng., MMM Group Limited

May 29, 2013

2013 Annual General Meeting Keynote Presentation: Natural Design

Michael Cook is well known across the world for his significant contribution to designing innovative buildings. Mike is the Chairman and Senior Partner of leading international consulting engineering firm Buro Happold. Especially interested in education, Mike is also Adjunct Professor of Creative Design at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College, London.

In his keynote address, Mike gave an overview of four of the many amazing structures he has been involved with in his career. He explained "how it all happened", and gave his insightful perspective on how we should be "making new engineers".

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Presenter: Michael Cook, PhD, CEng, Buro Happold

March 13, 2013

Pitt River Cable-stayed Bridge: Design & Construction

The Pitt River Cable Stayed Bridge was one of the first crucial links to be implemented in the Gateway network. As part of a design-build project, this 506m continuous river bridge included approach spans and a 380m cable-stayed portion with a 190m central span. The 40m wide bridge required a unique stay arrangement of three cable planes. Other design challenges included a continuous lateral system for redistribution of seismic and ship impact loading, a shallow stay-support deck system, a complex response of the 3-plane stay system, and deep foundations. This presentation touched on conceptual development, design-build value engineering considerations, and design and construction considerations. Key features of the structural system were described, such as the stay-supported shallow steel frame units and precast elements used for efficient balanced cantilever construction of the main spans, and the continuous deck diaphragm and link slabs used for the transfer of lateral loads and accommodation of bridge articulation. Observations were made on economy, schedule, and industry trends.

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Presenter : Craig Schaper, P.Eng., C.Eng., MIStructE Senior Bridge Engineer, Associated Engineering (B.C.) Ltd.

February 25, 2013

So You Think You Can Give A Seminar?

Second annual Young Members Group presentation competition. Presentations included in this recording:

"Made in China - Challenges of Working Overseas"
       by Dustin Willms, EIT, Fast + Epp

"Sustainable Concrete made with FRP Scrap Aggregate (FSA)"
      by Emma Slater, EIT, Metro Vancouver

"Seismic Performance of a Six Storey Reinforced Concrete Masonry Building during the Christchurch Earthquake"
      by Jose Centeno, EIT, Ph.D. Candidate, University of British Columbia

"Designing Structures to Resist Progressive Collapse"
       by Victoria Janssens, EIT, Wicke Herfst Maver Structural Engineers

and special guest presentation by Iain Ward, MIStructE, C.Eng., Ausenco:
"Sorry We Don't Have a Crane, But We Do Have 300 People and Some Trees"

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February 20, 2013

Floor Design Spectra Guideline

Floor design spectra are used to design structures or components or evaluate equipment that is located on or within larger structures. Floor design spectra allow practical response spectral design of building components and equipment when multiple time history responses have been developed at various locations throughout a structure. BC Hydro recently developed a practice to formalize the process of calculating floor design spectra to provide a uniform approach for seismic upgrades and designs of its facilities. Considerations in the practice's development include: numbers and characteristics of input time histories; component damping; and the appropriate characterization of uncertainty in the model from which the spectra are generated. The seminar presents methodology used to develop floor spectra and illustrates this using recent examples for both large structures as well as electrical and mechanical equipment.

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Presenter : Andreas J. Felber, Ph.D., P.Eng. Specialist Structural Engineer, Generation Engineering, BC Hydro

November 28, 2012

Conducting Field Reviews

One of the duties of a Structural Engineer is to conduct field reviews to observe the quality and progress of construction on site. This seminar presented practical advice on conducting field reviews and discussed professional requirements and liability for structural engineers when conducting field reviews.

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Presenters: Andy Metten P.Eng. Struct.Eng., Bush, Bohlman & Partners, and Peter Mitchell P.Eng., APEGBC

October 17, 2012

Energy-Efficient Buildings and Passive House

Building codes are changing regarding the energy efficiency of new buildings and renovations. The first one that will have an impact on the work of local structural engineers is the new 2012 VBBL that the City of Vancouver will release early next year. This seminar summarized the upcoming changes and the significant impact that they will have on structural design.

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Presenter: Robert Malczyk, P.Eng, Struct.Eng., Equilibrium Consulting Inc.

May 30, 2012

Noel Natham Memorial Lecture in Structural Engineering:
The Canterbury Earthquakes - Engineering Matters

David Hopkins delivered a compelling presentation on the Canterbury earthquakes. He provided an brief overview of the earthquakes and their impact, and then described some of his experiences in the immediate aftermath of the February 22 earthquake; helping to assess and stabilise some of the tallest buildings. After six weeks in this critical buildings role, David was asked by the Department of Building and Housing to manage investigations into the collapse of four buildings in the February 22 earthquake. He outlined that work, with some detail about the collapse of the CTV Building in which 115 people died. David concluded by sharing some personal observations relating to structural engineering that result from the critical buildings assessment and the DBH investigation.

Download Download Seminar Presentation (9MB PDF document)

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Presenter: Dr. David Hopkins, Consulting Engineer, Wellington, New Zealand

March 8, 2012

2012 Annual General Meeting Keynote Presentation: Burj Khalifa

Bill Baker delivered the gripping keynote presentation at the 2012 SEABC Annual General Meeting.

At 828 m high, the Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building, a testament to the world’s highest aspirations. Its design and construction pushed conventional technologies to record breaking heights.

IStructE Gold Medallist Bill Baker is recognized as one of the world’s leading structural designers. He is Partner in Charge of Structural and Civil Engineering for SOM’s Chicago and London offices and has a background in the design of landmark structures.

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Presenter: Bill Baker, SE, FASCE, FIStructE, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

February 22, 2012

Oakland Bay Bridge Construction Engineering

The signature span of the new San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge will be the Self-Anchored Suspension span (SAS), the longest "self-anchored" suspension bridge in the world. A "self-anchored" bridge requires the horizontal component of the suspension cable force to be resisted by compression in the deck, so the deck must be supported in position by falsework until the cable is in place. The single main tower comprises four individual steel legs constructed in four lifts, requiring a separate, 163m tall, temporary steel erection tower to lift the components into place. Structural and geotechnical design for the $350M temporary works, which included approximately 25,000 tonnes of structural steel, was undertaken by Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd here in Vancouver. The presentation provided an overview of the interesting engineering challenges encountered by the designers.

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Presenter: Bruce Hamersley, P.Eng., Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd.

January 18, 2012

Next Generation Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering: ATC-58 Approach

Next generation performance-based earthquake engineering aims to quantify performance of facilities using metrics that are of immediate use to both engineers and stakeholders. The method quantifies the seismic risk for the facility in terms of financial loss, down time and casualties, and consistently accounts for the uncertainties in the seismic hazard, structural response, resulting damage, and repair costs. The outcome will allow the building owners to make an informed risk-based management decision, and allow structural engineers to design new and innovative structural systems more efficiently and cost effectively.

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Presenter: Tony Yang, PhD, UBC Department of Civil Engineering

December 5, 2011

EERI Distinguished Lecture: "Dynamics of Urban Earthquake Risk - A Vancouver Case Study"

This presentation explored the question of how urban seismic risk is changing over time. Are our cities becoming safer, due to advances in earthquake engineering? Or is risk growing as a result of societal factors such as population expansion and urban development?

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Presenter: Stephanie E. Chang, Professor, University of British Columbia

November 30, 2011

SECBC Seminar: An Introduction to Blast Resistant Design

Presented by Rainer Herzinger, Ph.D., P.Eng., Stantec Consulting Ltd.
The presentation introduced participants to the characteristics of a blast wave and its effect on building structures, discussed design approaches.

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July 27, 2011

SEABC Taskforce on Guardrails - Design Practice and Construction Issues

For many years guards (guardrails) have had problems to achieve code compliance. Problems have typically ranged from lack of proper design to poor construction, and lack of coordination or understanding of responsibilities between the various design and construction professionals involved. Issues frequently exist with aluminum railings, glass guards, and connection of guardrail members to the supporting base building structure. This seminar outlined the issues identified by the SEABC Taskforce on Guardrails, and present practical and effective solutions for some of these issues.

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Presenter: Robert Jirava, P.Eng., Struct. Eng., RDJ Structural Designs Ltd.

May 31, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake and Lessons for BC

UBC Seismic expert Dr. Ken Elwood was in Christchurch New Zealand when the 6.3 earthquake rocked the city and led to 184 confirmed deaths and an estimated $20 billion (NZ) in damage. The presenters shared their observations from experiencing the earthquake first-hand and assisting with building assessments in the immediate aftermath, and presented important lessons for Vancouver and Canada.

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Presenter: Dr. Ken Elwood (UBC) & Mr. Patrick Ryan (City of Vancouver).


This seminar was presented by the UBC Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science, and sponsored by SEABC.

April 20, 2011

Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) - Design Fundamentals, Considerations, and Applications

Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP), though commonly used in the aero-space, automotive and marine industries, is still a relatively new design material for many Structural Engineers. This presentation covered the fundamentals of design, applications for repair and retrofit, applicable codes and guidelines, current research and testing, FRP specific drawing specifications and construction considerations. The presentation will also include sample projects utilizing FRP in their design.

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Presenter: John Sherstobitoff, P.Eng., Ausenco Sandwell.

September 17 & 18, 2010

Short Course on Displacement-Based Seismic Design

This 1½ day short course introduced participants to displacement-based seismic design and demonstrated how it can be implemented in the design office as a simple and rational alternative to current prescriptive methods of seismic design. The course showed that serious conceptual problems with current force-based seismic design are resolved when the design is based on displacement considerations.

The course followed the book, Displacement-Based Seismic Design of Structures, by MJN Priestley, GM Calvi, and MJ Kowalsky (ISBN: 88-6198-000-6)

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Nigel Priestley, PhD, BE, Professor Emeritus of Structural Engineering University of California, San Diego, co-Director Emeritus of the European Graduate School for Earthquake Engineering in Italy, and Principal of the consulting firm Priestley Structural Engineering.

Mervyn Kowalsky, PhD, PE, Professor of Structural Engineering in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University.

June 25 & 26, 2010

Two-Day Seminar on Soil-Structure Interaction

This seminar offered a guided tour through the various ways of accounting for soil-structure interaction (SSI) from analysis of the total soil-structure system to analysis of various approximate models of the system. The focus was on buildings and bridges, with both shallow and deep foundations. The seminar highlighted the benefits of including SSI analysis, from the perspective of improved understanding of actual system behaviour as well as improved efficiencies in structural designs that can be achieved.

When analysis of the total soil-structure system is carried out, the effects of soil-structure interaction (SSI) are implicitly included in the analysis and reflected in the results. However this type of analysis, while feasible, is rarely practical in practice because the structural analysis programs used by structural engineers cannot handle the nonlinear soil continuum directly. Modeling the effects of soil-structure interaction for practical design means developing reliable simple models that include the flexibility of the soil and foundation system; the dissipation of energy from the soil-structure system through radiation and hysteretic soil damping; and the modification of the ground motion transmitted to the structure by soil-structure interaction.

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Donald Anderson, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Upul Atukorala, PhD, PEng.
Golder Associates Ltd., Burnaby, BC

Craig Comartin, S.E.
CDComartin Inc., Stockton, California

Ron DeVall, Ph.D., P.Eng
Senior Consultant-Structural Engineering
Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd., Vancouver, BC

Liam Finn, Ph.D.,P.Eng.
Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Blair Gohl, PhD., P.Eng
Senior Associate
AMEC Earth and Environmental, Burnaby, BC

Bruce Hamersley, P.Eng.
Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd., Vancouver, BC

Ernest Naesgaard, P.Eng.
Naesgaard Geotechnical Ltd., Bowen Island, BC

John Sherstobitoff, P.Eng.
Manager, Structural
Ausenco Sandwell, Vancouver, BC

Anoosh Shamsabadi, Ph.D, P.E.
Senior Bridge Engineer
California Department of Transportation, Sacramento, California

Carlos Ventura, Ph.D., P.E., P.Eng.
Professor of Civil Engineering
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Adrian Wightman, M.Sc., P.Eng.
Principal Consultant
BGC Engineering Inc., Vancouver, BC


This seminar was presented by SEABC and co-sponsored by UBC Department of Civil Engineering and The Canadian Society for Civil Engineering Vancouver Section.

February 16, 2011

Sustainable Structures

Designing a sustainable structure is more than simply scoring high on a LEED or Living Building Challenge scorecard. It is about using common sense and doing the right thing. This presentation will look at how LEED influences the structural design of modern day buildings and offer recommendations on how the rating system could be improved to better respond to the realities of modern day design in British Columbia. The presentation will also show recent examples of local building structures to illustrate that sustainable structural design can be achieved with or without LEED.

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Presenter: Duane Palibroda P.Eng., Struct. Eng., LEED AP, Fast + Epp

November 29, 2010

Seminar: Rocking, Fusing, Self-Centering, and Multi-Hazard: Some Research and some Questions

Strategies to achieve more resilient structural systems have included frame rocking, the use of structural fuses, and self-centering post-tensioned frames. An increased interest in multi-hazard strategies has also emerged in recent years. This presentation reviews selected recent research conducted at the University at Buffalo on those topics. This includes: (1) a general formulation for structural fuse systems, validate by shake-table testing of a 3-story steel frame having replaceable fuses; (2) A fuse concept for tall dual columns, verified experimentally using cyclic inelastic testing of a 30' tall specimen; (3) A structural braced-frame rocking strategy, verified using shake table testing of a 30' tall 4-legged braced tower; (4) A self-centering steel plate shear wall concept under development, and; (5) A composite concrete-filled steel tube concept for multi-hazard performance. For each of these systems, potential advantages are highlighted, along with some general challenges for that will be faced for their codification.

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Dr. Michel Bruneau, Ph.D., P.Eng. (Professor, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo)


This seminar was hosted by the Department of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia.

November 15, 2010

UBC Special Guest Seminar: Progress Engendered by Collapses of Record Setting Structures: Malpasset Dam, World Trade Center Towers and KB Bridge in Palau

When built, these were the tallest and slenderest arch dam, the tallest building, and the prestressed box girder of world-record span. The mechanisms of collapse of these structures are clarified. The size effect is shown to have been an important factor in the 1959 failure of the Malpasset Dam. Second, the disputed causes of the twin WTC towers collapse in New York on 9/11/01 are discussed. Third, the 1996 collapse of the Koror-Babeldaob prestress concrete box girder in Palau, with a 241 m span, is analyzed. Some other shear failures of RC structures in which the size effect was a likely a factor are briefly pointed out. The lessons from these regrettable catastrophes are bound to advance the structural engineering profession.

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Dr. ZdenekP. Bazant, Ph.D., Northwestern University


This seminar was hosted by the Department of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia.

October 25, 2010

Seminar: Changes in the Steel Standard S16-09

A new edition of S16 will come into effect with the upcoming building code revisions NBCC 2010 and BCBC 2011. The new steel standard is S16-09 and is contained in the recently released tenth edition of the CISC Handbook of Steel Construction along with the updated commentary to S16. The seminar will cover the significant changes and a clause-by-clause summary of the changes will be made available to attendees.

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Andy Metten, P.Eng, Struct. Eng. (Partner: Bush, Bohlman & Partners)


This seminar was sponsored in part by the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction.

October 5, 2009

EERI Distinguished Lecture

The State of the Practice of Seismic Hazard Analysis: "From the Good to the Bad", by Dr. Norman A. Abrahamson, Senior Engineering Seismologist, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Francisco

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The presentation reviewed the state of the practice of seismic hazard analysis and development of design time histories. The practice of seismic hazard analysis varies tremendously from poor to very good. The large variability in practice is not simply a reflection of project budgets; a large variation exists for similar scale projects. Although the basic methodology for seismic hazard analysis has been well established, there remains widespread misunderstanding of the basic concepts that contribute to poor practice. Some of the most common misunderstandings and common aspects of bad practice will be described. The aspects of good practice that should be expected for low-end and high-end studies will be summarized.

For the development of design time histories, the state of the practice is more variable than for seismic hazard analysis. Key aspects such as how representative time histories are selected and how they are modified (by scaling or by spectral matching) vary tremendously based on the opinions of the project participants or reviewers. In most cases, these opinions are based comfortable level rather than objective technical criteria. Examples showing the large range of quality of current practice will be shown. The state of the practice for developing time histories will not improve until objective quantitative criteria are developed to judge the appropriateness of non-stationary aspects of the proposed time histories for the particular project.


Dr. Abrahamson is a Senior Engineering Seismologist in the Geosciences Department at the Pacific Gas and Electric Company in San Francisco. He specializes in ground motion assessments and seismic hazard analysis of important engineered structures and systems, including dams, bridges, nuclear power plants, nuclear waste repositories, rail lines, electric substations, water and gas pipelines, hospitals and office buildings. His expertise includes the treatment of uncertainty, the use of numerical simulations of ground motion, and strong motion instrumentation. Dr. Abrahamson was named the 2009 Distinguished Lecturer by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.


UBC EERI Dr. Abrahamson’s visit was made possible by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Distinguished Lecture Program.

March 19, 2008


Lecture was joint sponsored by SEABC, the UBC EERI Student Chapter, and the EERI Friedman Family Visiting Professional Program
Topic: EERI Freidman Family Visiting Professional Lecture
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Venue: Vancouver Public Library, Downtown, Alice McKay Room
Time: 7:00PM. Refreshments will be served.

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Presented by Carlos E. Ventura, P.Eng. and Mark Bakhtavar - Department of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia

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