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Siamak Sattar, Katherine J. Johnson


During a strong earthquake, commercial and residential buildings designed to meet current building codes and standards may sustain damage that significantly hinders the restoration of building functionality. The impacted buildings, and consequences such as dislocation of people, disruption of key services, and lack of access to jobs and schools, pose a significant impediment for communities during recovery. In the wake of disasters across the globe, there is mounting evidence that the public no longer finds these kinds of disruptions acceptable. To meet this need, buildings and infrastructure can be designed for higher performance so that they are able to serve their function or regain functionality with minimal interruption after an earthquake. This will require shifts in design philosophy and across multiple aspects of current practice. The 2018 Congressional reauthorization of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), P.L. 115-307, requires two Federal agencies, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to work with experts across the U.S. to address this issue of improving post-earthquake functionality. FEMA and NIST convened the committee of experts to develop the report to the U.S. Congress to identify and assess options for functional recovery and post-earthquake re-occupancy. As part of this effort, stakeholder workshops are being held in February 2020 in five U.S. cities to gather public feedback to inform the final report to Congress. This paper summarizes the main findings of this effort, including a list of the key recommendations identified for improving the functionality of buildings and infrastructure. The Report to the U.S. Congress serves as a starting point for improving timeframes for re-occupancy and functionality of the built environment and critical infrastructure after earthquakes through the development and adoption of functional recovery concepts, codes and
Conference Dates
September 13-18, 2020
Conference Location
Conference Title
17 World Conference on Earthquake Engineering


Sattar, S. and Johnson, K. (2020), RECOMMENDED OPTIONS FOR IMPROVING THE FUNCTIONAL RECOVERY OF THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE, 17 World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Sendai, -1, [online], (Accessed May 18, 2024)


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Created September 14, 2020, Updated August 31, 2020