Early History Of Seismic Design And Codes In Australia

AEES members John Woodside and Kevin McCue have written a paper that discusses the early history of earthquake codes, standards and seismic design in Australia including the publication of AS 2121 in 1979 and the first edition of AS 1170.4 in 1993 and how it has impacted on the design community. When AS 2121 was first introduced, it was limited to projects designed by the Commonwealth Government throughout Australia through the Department of Housing and Construction, for buildings and houses in the Meckering area in WA. It was then introduced into SA in 1983 for buildings over 12 m in height.

The Newcastle earthquake in 1989 showed that seismic design for buildings in Australia was urgently required and indeed hastened the work of the subcommittee for the new earthquake loading code AS 1170.4. However, it was not until the publication of AS 1170.4 in 1993 and its adoption in 1994 in the BCA, that structural engineers started to become familiar with the design principles for seismic loads although it was still to take another 10 to 15 years to be fully accepted by the design community. Unfortunately, there is a new generation of owners, designers, and contractors some of whom still believe that earthquake design is not required in Australia.

Download the full paper here.