Document Type

Keynote submission

Publication details

Dhakal, RP 2014, 'Seismic design of buildings: looking towards the future', in ST Smith (ed.), 23rd Australasian Conference on the Mechanics of Structures and Materials (ACMSM23), vol. I, Byron Bay, NSW, 9-12 December, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, pp. 13-14. ISBN: 9780994152008.

Peer Reviewed



In the last century, seismic design has undergone significant advancements. Starting from the initial concept of designing structures to perform elastically during an earthquake, the modern seismic design philosophy allows structures to respond to ground excitations in an inelastic manner, thereby allowing damage in earthquakes that are significantly less intense than the largest possible ground motion at the site of the structure. Current performance-based multi-objective seismic design methods aim to ensure life-safety in large and rare earthquakes, and to limit structural damage in frequent and moderate earthquakes. As a result, not many recently built buildings have collapsed and very few people have been killed in 21st century buildings even in large earthquakes. Nevertheless, the financial losses to the community arising from damage and downtime in these earthquakes have been unacceptably high (for example; reported to be in excess of 40 billion dollars in the recent Canterbury earthquakes). In the aftermath of the huge financial losses incurred in recent earthquakes, public has unabashedly shown their dissatisfaction over the seismic performance of the built infrastructure.