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Building Seismic Safety Council

The Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC) deals with the complex technical, regulatory, social and economic issues involved in developing and promulgating building earthquake risk mitigation provisions. Established in 1979, the council’s purpose is to enhance public safety by providing a national forum that fosters improved seismic planning, design, construction and regulation in the building community.

In 1977, Congress passed the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act to protect the lives of building occupants, during an earthquake and mitigate the impact of such disasters on the national economy. The law established the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). BSSC, under contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), develops and maintains a key resource — the NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures. The Provisions are used as the primary resource for the professional design standard ASCE/SEI 7 Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures


To evaluate research findings, practices, and fields investigations to aid in developing seismic safety provisions


To provide ongoing education for structural design professionals through training materials, webinars, workshops and colloquia; and provide education outreach on seismic design and construction to the non-technical building community and the general public


To promote the adoption of provisions by the national standards and model building codes, and advise government bodies on their programs of research, development and implementation.


BSSC's success with the Provisions is due to the efforts of its members and volunteer experts, including engineers, seismologists, architects, academics, researchers, code officials, manufacturers and suppliers. 


Kent Yu, PhD, SE
Principal, SEFT Consulting Group

Vice Chair

Joann Browning, PhD, PE
Dean, College of Engineering, University of Texas at San Antonio


Dr. Iris Tien
Williams Family Associate Professor, Georgia Tech

Member at Large

Roberto Leon, P.E., PhD
Professor, Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech

Member at Large

Bill Earl
Engineering Branch Chief, GSA

Past Chairs

Charles J. Carter, SE, PE, PhD
President, American Institute of Steel Construction

James Cagley, PE, SE
President, Cagley & Associates

Board of Directors Liaison

Dr. Sez Ratamturktur Russcher
Head of the Department of Architectural Engineering, Penn State

Staff Lead

Jiqiu (JQ) Yuan, PhD, PE, PMP
Vice President, Engineering, National Institute of Building Sciences


The NEHRP Recommended Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures embodies the state–of–knowledge criteria for the design and construction of buildings subject to earthquake hazards. The techniques and technologies contained in this resource document are diffused into several national standards, including the American Society of Civil Engineers ASCE–7 Design Standard for Minimum Loads that are referenced by the model building codes developed by the International Code Council (ICC).

The Provisions are developed by the Provisions Update Committee (PUC), a technical committee of seismic experts that identify and apply the most advanced seismic technology available. The committee is supported by expert Issue Teams (ITs) that address specific aspects of seismic design methodology and construction. These committee and team members ensure that lessons learned from the building performance during the earthquakes, as well as new research to improve earthquake resistance, are reflected in state–of–the–art seismic requirements. The ITs develop proposals for requirements that are balloted by the PUC according to BSSC's consensus process, and subsequently balloted by its Professional Organizations (POs).

PUC Committee Members
Member Affiliation Role
John Hooper Magnusson Klemencic Associates Chair
Robert Pekelnicky Degenkolb Engineers Vice Chair
Kelly Cobeen Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. Voting Member
Daniel Dolan Washington State University Voting Member
S.K. Ghosh S. K. Ghosh Associates LLC Voting Member
Emily Guglielmo Martin/Martin Consulting Engineers Voting Member
James Harris J. R. Harris & Company Voting Member
Jon Heintz Applied Technology Council Voting Member
Sandy Hohener Degenkolb Engineers Voting Member
Gyimah Kasali RUTHERFORD + CHEKENE Voting Member
Dominic Kelly Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. Voting Member
Ryan Kersting BUEHLER Voting Member
Charlie Kircher Kircher & Associates Voting Member
Abbie Liel University of Colorado Boulder Voting Member
Philp Line American Wood Council Voting Member
Bret Lizundia RUTHERFORD + CHEKENE Voting Member
Bonnie Manley American Iron and Steel Institute Voting Member
Farzad Naeim FARZAD NAEIM, INC. Voting Member
Jim Malley Degenkolb Engineers Voting Member
Debra Murphy Slate Geotechnical Consultants Voting Member
Amit Varma Purdue University Voting Member
Rafael Sabelli Walter P Moore Voting Member
John Silva Hilti North America Voting Member
Greg Soules CB&I Storage Solutions Voting Member
Jonathan Stewart University of California, Los Angeles Voting Member
Paul Summers Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. Voting Member
Reid Zimmerman KPFF CONSULTING ENGINEERS Voting Member
To be updated   Corresponding Members
Robert Hanson Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA Technical Advisor
Mai (Mike) Tong Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA Project Officer and Liaison
Christina Aronson Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA Liaison
Nico Luco U.S. Geological Survey USGS Liaison
Sanaz Rezaeian U.S. Geological Survey USGS Liaison
Andrew Makdisi U.S. Geological Survey USGS Liaison
Steven McCabe National Institute of Standards and Technology NIST Liaison
John (Jay) Harris National Institute of Standards and Technology NIST Liaison
Jiqiu (JQ) Yuan National Institute of Building Sciences BSSC Executive Director

FEMA/BSSC 2020 NEHRP Provisions Design Examples Webinar Series
The webinar series is organized by the eight chapters in the 2020 NEHRP Recommended Provisions: Design Examples, and serves as part the FEMA NEHRP/BSSC outreach and education effort. Registration for the webinar series is free (space is limited). CEUs (for AIA and ICC) and certificates of attendance for PDHs and will be provided to those who attend the live webinars. Learn more

Developed by the National Institute of Building Sciences Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC) Provisions Update Committee (PUC) for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures (NEHRP Provisions) help translate new knowledge and recent research results for improving national standards and codes. The Provisions are a state-of-art resource and reference document for design professionals and standard and code-development organizations. Learn more

Should you have any additional questions about the Building Seismic Safety Council or would like to know more about the council's activities, please contact:

Staff Lead

Jiqiu (JQ) Yuan, PhD, PE, PMP
Executive Director, Multi-Hazard Mitigation and BSSC
National Institute of Building Sciences

Companies & Organizations
National Subject Matter Experts
Technical Proposals

View the BSSC Council Retrospective