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Building Design Considerations to Support Immediate Occupancy Performance Objectives



Siamak Sattar, Christopher Segura, Katherine Johnson, Therese P. McAllister, Steven McCabe


The intent of current building codes for typical commercial and residential buildings is to safeguard against loss of life to building occupants by minimizing the probability of structural collapse during natural hazard events. However, current codes do not ensure that building functions are preserved following a natural hazard. Widespread building damage, and degradation or loss of building functions, can have severe social and economic impacts on a community. To reduce the likelihood and severity of potential property damage and to enable more rapid recovery for communities impacted by natural hazards, the U.S. Senate tasked the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) with identifying research needs and implementation activities to develop a multi-hazard immediate occupancy (IO) performance objective for commercial and residential buildings. This new IO performance objective would provide the technical criteria needed to design a building to retain its function following a design level hazard event. With input from subject matter experts and stakeholders participating in a national workshop, NIST developed a report to fulfill the Congressional mandate. This paper highlights key research needs and implementation activities that pertain to designing a building to meet IO performance objectives. The research needs and implementation activities discussed in this paper articulate the steps necessary to develop the engineering design criteria for the new IO performance objective. For successful development of IO objectives, these topics need to be addressed with cooperative efforts among researchers, engineers, standards and code officials, and community stakeholders
Conference Dates
June 17-20, 2019
Conference Location
Quebec City, CA
Conference Title
12th Canadian Conference on Earthquake Engineering


immediate occupancy, performance objective, building design, performance objective, adoption consideration


Sattar, S. , Segura, C. , Johnson, K. , McAllister, T. and McCabe, S. (2019), Building Design Considerations to Support Immediate Occupancy Performance Objectives, 12th Canadian Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Quebec City, CA, [online], (Accessed April 14, 2024)
Created June 16, 2019, Updated April 14, 2022