Seismic Safety Rules Could Require Less Construction
A provision to "reduce regulatory barriers" in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) health care reform proposal suggests that the administration supports using new software to evaluate which hospitals must be rebuilt to comply with state seismic safety standards, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, which regulates hospital construction, last month hired an engineering firm to review and reclassify hospitals' seismic risk using Hazus, a software program developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Institute of Building Sciences.
The software will re-evaluate the risk of earthquake damage to hospital buildings using several factors, such as structural elements, ground motion, soil composition and distance from the epicenter.
Chris Poland, chair and CEO of Degenkolb Engineers, said he predicts that 10% to 15% of all hospitals and buildings will be classified as needing replacement or repair under the Hazus system, compared with 50% under the current system.
John Gillengerten, acting deputy director of OSHPD, said the agency plans to complete a review of the software in February and complete a preliminary analysis of some hospitals by March or April.
OSHPD then will forward its recommendations to the administration and the Legislature (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 1/12).