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Research Needs to Support Immediate Occupancy Building Performance Following Natural Hazard Events



Siamak Sattar, Therese P. McAllister, Katherine J. Johnson, Christopher T. Clavin, Christopher L. Segura, Steven L. McCabe, Juan F. Fung, Leslie Abrahams, Emily Sylak-Glassman , Marc L. Levitan, Kenneth W. Harrison, John L. Harris


The performance of buildings in our communities depends on multiple factors including the availability of supporting infrastructure, the original design, the current condition and capacity to resist hazard impacts, and the ability to recover functionality within a specified period of time. Rapid recovery or continued operations of buildings minimize disruption to the community, expenditures for repair and rebuilding, and economic impacts. However, given the range of age and condition for all buildings across a community, there are often situations where the built environment does not perform well during natural hazard events. To address this gap between current and desired performance of all buildings in our communities, a Congressional mandate tasked the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to identify research needs and implementation activities that will help improve the performance of residential and commercial buildings. This forward-looking mandate expands the application of immediate occupancy performance from critical buildings to other buildings that are important to residents, businesses, and communities. Current building codes protect lives by reducing the likelihood of significant damage or structural collapse and provide some degree of property protection. With the damage and loss that continues to occur each year following natural hazard events, there is interest in moving beyond this design paradigm to designing for functionality as well as lives and property. For example, an apartment building may be uninhabitable after an earthquake due to expected structural damage. The resulting economic and social disruption caused by the displacement of residents is significant and is compounded when residential and commercial buildings across the community are similarly damaged. To address this problem and develop a new immediate occupancy performance objective, this report identifies research and implementation activities
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 1224
Report Number


Immediate Occupancy, Functional Recovery, performance objective, building functionality, community considerations, social issues, economic issues


Sattar, S. , McAllister, T. , Johnson, K. , Clavin, C. , Segura, C. , McCabe, S. , Fung, J. , Abrahams, L. , , E. , Levitan, M. , Harrison, K. and Harris, J. (2018), Research Needs to Support Immediate Occupancy Building Performance Following Natural Hazard Events, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 22, 2024)


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Created August 20, 2018, Updated July 6, 2020