State Mulls Software for Measuring Seismic Risks of Hospitals
On Nov. 14, the California Building Standards Commission will consider adopting new regulations for assessing the seismic risk of a hospital, a move that is expected to lower the number of facilities required under state law to complete seismic retrofits in the next few years, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
Under current law, hospitals must meet state seismic safety standards by 2013, or 2020 if they can prove a lack of financial means.
However, the new regulations would reassess the seismic risk of each facility using software, called HAZUS, developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The software program uses more factors than the current regulations in determining how a structure is expected to perform in the event of an earthquake.
Sixty percent of hospital buildings are expected to pass the new software test and would be required to meet a new deadline of 2030 for meeting state seismic standards if they perform minor repairs.
The state estimates that the new test could save hospitals $3.3 billion in short-term retrofit costs and defer another $1.3 billion in expenses until 2030 (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 11/2).