Following an overview of the special problems inherent in the design and construction of earthquake-resistant buildings in regions of high seismic risk, the techniques that will be required to solve these problems in the U.S. are discussed. Some lessons learned from recent earthquakes, particularly those in Chile and Mexico in 1985, are discussed as are some results of integrated analytical and experimental research at the University of California, Berkeley. The implications of the ground motions recorded during the 1985 Mexican and Chilean earthquakes, the performance of buildings during the Mexican earthquake, and the research results previously discussed are then assessed with respect to seismic-resistant design regulations presently in force (UBC) as well as those formulated by ATC 3-06 and the Tentative Lateral Force Requirements recently developed by the Seismology Committee of SEAOC. The rationale for and reliability of the values suggested by the ATC for the “Response Modification Factor R” and by the SEAOC Seismology Committee for the “Structural Quality Factor Rw” are reviewed in detail. In the conclusion to the paper, two solutions for improving the earthquake-resistant design of building structures are proposed: an ideal (rational) method to be implemented in the future, and a compromise solution that can be implemented immediately.

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