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Projects : CUREE-Caltech Woodframe Project

Element 1 - Testing & Analysis
Task 1.2 – Organization of an International Benchmark

Media Advisory

Reporters Invited to
CUREE International Benchmark Briefing and Workshop

International Teams Use Computers to "Blind Predict" Earthquake Shaking
Response of a 2-Story Woodframe House

The Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering (CUREE) and the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) invite media representatives to attend a media briefing with international teams of engineers who are using computer tools to predict the effects of earthquake shaking on a woodframe house. The culmination of the participating teams’ efforts are being presented at the International Benchmark Workshop Friday, June 15, 2001. The event is hosted by the Department of Structural Engineering at the University of California, San Diego and sponsored by Simpson Strong-Tie Company, a leader in the manufacturing of engineered products for woodframe construction.

Because houses of wood construction are not typically designed with the kind of sophisticated analysis methods used for other structures, the goal of the International Benchmark effort is to develop and apply "high-tech" engineering techniques to this common type of building. The current state of the art is being put to the test through a competition entitled the International Benchmark.

The international engineering community was invited to blind predict the response of the shake table test structure using their preferred computer modeling tools. The international teams were given only the structural drawings for the house, its precise material characteristics, and the particular earthquake motion recording from the Northridge Earthquake that the laboratory platform "played back" for the experiment. They did not have data on the seismic response of the structure, so their predictions were "blind." The purpose was to determine whether predictions could "match" actual results from the shake tests.

Six teams from six different countries responded to the challenge: Team Canada, Team Italy/Canada, Team Japan, Team New Zealand, Team Slovenia and Team United States. Professor André Filiatrault of the University of California at San Diego and a Manager of the Woodframe Project notes, "The International Benchmark Workshop provides a unique opportunity to draw together the broad structural research and engineering communities to evaluate their ability to predict the performance of woodframe buildings under seismic shaking. In my opinion, this is one of the most important activities of the Woodframe Project."

The shake table testing performed throughout the spring and summer of 2000 at the University of California, San Diego measured the building’s seismic response to a number of different ground motions recorded in past earthquakes.. The testing of this structure was open to the media and drew national attention.

Broadcast quality videotape of the shake tests will be available at the International Benchmark Workshop or can be obtained from the General Information contact above. The house is across the street from the building where the Workshop is being held and will be available for tours that day.

Information from 300 sensors installed inside and outside the house provided valuable data that researchers can use in the future to create computer simulations expected to aid in evaluating current design and construction practices. Results from this and other tests on other woodframe structures will be used to modify designs for new houses and for retrofit of existing buildings.

International Benchmark Workshop Information:

Date and Time:

Friday, June 15, 2001
9:00 am to 5:30 pm (Reporters invited to a briefing beginning at 10 am.)


University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, California

Building and Room: Center for Magnetic Recording Research Bldg Conference Room
For a campus map visit the website:

9:15-9:30 Introduction Bryan Folz, UCSD; Bob Reitherman, CUREE;
Steve Pryor, Simpson Strong-Tie
9:30-10:00 Description of Shake Table Structure and Testing Protocol Andre Filiatrault, UCSD
10:00-10:30 Numerical Model & Predictions – Team Canada Ricardo Foschi, University of British Columbia
10:30-11::00 Coffee Break
11:00-11:30 Numerical Model & Predictions – Team Italy / Canada Ario Ceccotti, University of Florence
11:30-12:00 Numerical Model & Predictions – Team Japan Hiroshi Isoda, Building Research Institute
12:00-1:30 Lunch
1:30-2:00 Numerical Model & Predictions – Team New Zealand Bruce Deam, University of Canterbury
2:00-2:30 Numerical Model & Predictions – Team Slovenia Bruno Dujic, University of Ljubljana
2:30-3:00 Numerical Model & Predictions – Team United States Chukuwuma Ekwueme, Hart Consulting Group
3:00-3:30 Coffee Break
3:30-4:00 Numerical Model & Predictions – UCSD Bryan Folz, UCSD
4:00-4:30 Comparison of Numerical Predictions with Shake Table Test Results Bryan Folz, UCSD
4:30-5:00 Engineered Woodframe Construction – An Industry Perspective Steve Pryor, Simpson Strong-Tie
5:00-5:30 Panel Discussion – Concluding Comments Andre Filiatrault, UCSD

Engineering Teams who will be present:

Team Canada
Professor Ricardo Foschi and Professor Frank Lam
University of British Columbia

Team Italy - Canada
Professor Ario Ceccotti
University of Florence

Mr. Erol Karacabeyli
Forintek Canada Corp.

Team Japan
Dr. Hiroshi Isoda, Dr. Naohito Kawai and
Mr. Nobuyoshi Yamaguchi
Building Research Institute

Team New Zealand
Dr. Bruce Deam and Associate Professor Peter Moss
University of Canterbury

Team Slovenia
Mr. Bruno Dujic and Professor Roko Zarnic
University of Ljubljana

Team United States
Chukwuma G. Ekwueme, PhD, SE
Behnam Arya, PhD
HART-WEIDLINGER, a Division of Weidlinger Associates Inc

Workshop Sponsor:

Simpson Strong-Tie Connectors:

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Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering
last updated 03.20.15