Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Research Required to Support Full Implementation of Performance-Based Seismic Design



William Holmes, Andre Filiatrault, John Hooper, Nicolas Luco, Jack Moehle, Maryann Phipps


To encourage further development of PBSD, FEMA commissioned several action plans that included work plans and budgets, and these efforts culminated in 2002 when FEMA provided the Applied Technology Council (ATC) with funding to develop next generation performance-based seismic design (ATC 58). However, it is now recognized by the technical community that the development of a PBSD system that will realize the full potential of the concept requires robust data on the expected seismic performance of most, if not all, structural systems, nonstructural components and systems, foundations, and supporting soil types as well as improved ability to predict the specific characteristics of ground motions at any site. The ATC 58 project team has concluded that sufficient technology exists to create a performance-based design procedure but that a lack of research and performance data will limit its scope and, potentially, its accuracy and usefulness. This report identifies the research required for the nation to take full advantage of PBSD by describing 37 research topics in some detail. The bulk of this research is aimed at generating in-depth data about the performance, over a full range of seismic loadings, of building materials, systems, and components found in both new and older buildings. These data will serve as the basis for a library of fragilities -- mathematical relationships between seismic loading and damage –- that is sufficient to model most buildings in this country. A second highly critical task is to determine the performance expected from use of prescriptive code or standards requirements in designing new buildings and retrofitting existing buildings. The results of this task will not only improve the codes and standards but also will facilitate an orderly transition to wide use of PBSD in the next decade.
Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR) - 09-917-2
Report Number


NEHRP, BSSC, Program Plan, Research Needs


Holmes, W. , Filiatrault, A. , Hooper, J. , Luco, N. , Moehle, J. and Phipps, M. (2009), Research Required to Support Full Implementation of Performance-Based Seismic Design, Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 18, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created April 15, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017