Maryann Phipps Delivers Keynote Address at the 2019 Pacific Conference on Earthquake Engineering

Maryann Phipps Delivers Keynote Address at the 2019 Pacific Conference on Earthquake Engineering

May 1, 2019


Maryann opened the 11th Pacific Conference on Earthquake Engineering (PCEE) held April 4-6, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand with a keynote speech delivered to nearly 500 attendees from 15 countries. The conference, sponsored by the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE) and the Australian Earthquake Engineering Society, is held every four years and brings together professionals and researchers representing a broad range of disciplines working together to understand and reduce seismic risk.

Her presentation, “Better Buildings by Design – What does it really take to design a Good building?” drew on her experience designing, peer reviewing and plan checking buildings intended to be quickly returned to service after an earthquake. Her perspective reflects lessons learned in recent earthquakes in New Zealand and those from California earthquakes Maryann has investigated.

Maryann synthesized her talk into action items that increase the likelihood a building will be returned to service quickly after an earthquake. Similar to a pilot before take-off or a doctor before surgery, Maryann believes that every Structural Engineer should confirm that the following items are complete before stamping and submitting drawings for construction:

1.   Performance options have been discussed with the client;
2.   The probable yielding mechanism for the building is understood and consistent with performance expectations;
3.   Design criteria for nonstructural components and systems are clear and coordinated;
4.   Someone has clear responsibility for seismic protection of each important nonstructural component; and
5.   There is a testing and inspection program in place to ensure that the intended design is constructed.

Maryann’s talk was met with great enthusiasm. The former PCEE Chairman, David Hopkins, wrote “Maryann’s presentation should be viewed by all practicing engineers designing buildings for earthquake resistance”.

While in Auckland Maryann met with the female graduate students in earthquake engineering at the University of Auckland. She was also able to enjoy a week of vacation in the North Island after the conference!