USSC E‑Newsletter

March 31, 2004                                                                                                              Volume 2, Number 3


In This Issue

·   Salt Lake’s Depot District

·    July 9th  Commission Meeting Preview

·    Barry’s Babble

Division of Emergency Services and Homeland Security

Utah Geological Survey

Utah Seismic Safety Commission

Links of Note:

Western States Seismic Policy Council – Earthquake Program Information Center

Advanced National Seismic System – USGS Earthquake Hazards Program

FEMA HAZUS: Natural Hazard Loss Estimation Methodology

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
University of UtahUtah Earthquake Information”

Contact Me:

Barry H. Welliver

Salt Lake’s Depot District


In a recent Salt Lake Tribune article about the area surrounding the Rio Grande Depot, it was reported that this is fast becoming a focal point for development.

The proximity of the new Gateway center and other nearby improved properties has given rise to a neighborhood with attitude. Much interest centers around the re-use of the older warehouse type buildings and consequently there is need to take advantage of this opportunity to address strengthening of these structures.

The city does not presently have regulations to address the upgrading of existing structures when there is not a change to a higher seismic use group as defined in the 2003 International Building Code.

In most cases, this would not require owners to retrofit their buildings for earthquakes.

While costs for strengthening older buildings are not always welcome news to developers, it is often a factor not sufficiently evaluated. Consideration of property value after an earthquake is often overlooked. Additionally, the life-safety component may play a minor role if owners are not made aware of the potential danger of buildings ill-equipped to withstand the forces of even moderate ground-shaking.

Making inroads into seismic safety of existing buildings sometimes means being prepared to find the right opportunities to speak up. Perhaps this is one such time and place.


July 9th, 2004 USSC Meeting Preview


Our upcoming commission meeting will be a warm-up to our 10th year Anniversary Celebration. While the particulars of the celebration are still being finalized, it promises to be an affair you won’t want to miss.

The business portion of our meeting will take place from 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM and includes the election of chair and co-chairs, and reports about our potential involvement with the State Building Board and selection of the 2004-2005 Strategic Actions.

An agenda with minutes and a copy of our Action Plan will be sent to all commissioners approximately one week before the meeting.


Barry’s Babble


The beginning of summer is always an exciting time for me.

I shake off my winter attitude and start to plan those projects and vacation snippets I’ll sneak in as my work allows. It is a time of building and relaxing that naturally leads me to seeing things in a new way.

As the Strategic Planning committee finalized the action points for discussion at our July meeting, I was struck by how similar our emphasis was to items in the California Matrix Plan. There are a lot of common issues Seismic Safety Commissions grapple with and we would be remiss if we didn’t take advantage of work that has been done by others.

And yet it often boils down to timing. (There is a time for this and a time for that) It seems that more points are being aligned on our chart and opportunities and connections seem to be made more frequently. News media have helped, and being prepared to lend our opinion on current issues is critical to building an informed public opinion about earthquakes and what they mean here in Utah.

It strikes me that after 10 years the USSC has evolved into a living, breathing body of committed individuals who just won’t give up in the face of obstacles like “it’ll never happen here” or “it costs too much”. I have great respect for those who birthed this commission and feel obliged to remember that effort as we plan the work of the future.

Lastly, I’d like to thank you for allowing me to be your chair for this last little bit. I know this sounds like my farewell column, but having been re-elected by SEAU for another two year term as delegate, you’ll need to tolerate my quirkiness for at least that time.

OK, now that’s a rambling “babble” if I ever penned one!

Barry H. Welliver