2022 Seismic Design Competition

2022 Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition

The 2022 Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition will be held in conjunction with the 2022 National Conference of Earthquake Engineering (12 NCEE) in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States, June 27nd – July 1st, 2022!

We hope to see you at the 2022 Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition!

Please click through the above menu links for more information!



Announcement 9: 07/03/2022

The full results are out! Please see the “Results” tab for more information.


Announcement 8: 06/27/2022

Come to the Earthquake Safety events hosted by the School Earthquake Safety Initiative (SESI) chairs of the SLC! One is the Advancing School Earthquake Safety in our Communities event on Thursday, June 30, from 3:30 pm – 5 pm in Salt Palace Ballroom A. The second one is the Leveraging the Virtual Classroom: Inspiring the Next Generation of Earthquake Engineers event on Thursday, June 30, from 1:30 pm – 3 pm at Salt Palace Ballroom E-J. Please see these flyers for more information! 

Advancing School Earthquake Safety in our Communities

Leveraging the Virtual Classroom: Inspiring the Next Generation of Earthquake Engineers


Announcement 7: 06/19/2022

As a part of the Seismic Design Competition (SDC) 2022, SLC-EERI is also organizing Post- Earthquake Reconnaissance Workshop (PERW) from 9 AM to 12 PM on Thursday, 30th June 2022. We strongly encourage all the undergraduates attending the SDC to attend the workshop. For more details, please click on the “PERW” tab. There you can find details about the workshop and speakers and register for it as well. The PERW is a valuable opportunity to enhance your knowledge in the field of seismic evaluation and risk assessment! Please join and gain valuable insights from the experts!


Announcement 6: 06/09/2022

Hi Teams, the submission form for performance predictions & rentable floor area calculations as well as the submission form for the poster and presentation are available now! They can be found under the “Rules & Documents” tab. Remember, the deadline for the submittals are 11:59 pm PST on Friday, June 24, so make sure to turn them in by then. Thanks for all of your hard work and we can’t wait to see you in Utah soon! : D


Announcement 5: 02/07/2022

Hi Teams, proposal results are out! We were very pleased with the received proposals and would like to thank everyone who submitted one! This year, the following 43 teams were accepted (in alphabetical order):

Ain Shams University
Brigham Young University
California Polytechnic State University, Pomona
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
California State University, Chico
California State University, Northridge
Cornell University
Helwan University
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Istanbul Technical University
Loyola Marymount University
McMaster University
New York University, Tandon
North Carolina State University
Oregon State University
Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra
Portland State University
Purdue University
Salesian Polytechnic University
Stanford University
Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest
Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
The University of British Columbia
The University of Texas at Austin
Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas ESPE
Universidad Iberoamericana
Universitas Indonesia
University at Buffalo
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Davis
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, San Diego
University of Colorado, Boulder
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Memphis
University of Michigan
University of Nevada, Reno
University of Puerto Rico
University of Southern California
University of Toronto
University of Victoria


As per the Official Rules, the top 9 proposals will receive bonuses during the competition. This list is as follows (again in alphabetical order, NOT placement order):

New York University, Tandon
Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra
Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest
The University of British Columbia
University at Buffalo
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, San Diego
University of Nevada, Reno
University of Victoria


Congrats to everyone who submitted a proposal and was accepted to the competition! We can’t wait to see everyone and what you all come up with in Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s still anyone’s race; good luck! : D


Announcement 4: 01/27/2022

Hi Teams, apologies for the delay, but the ground motions for 2022 have been released! They can be found in the “Rules & Documents” section! It will be a .zip file with the ground motion data.


Announcement 3: 01/17/2022

Hi Teams, the requirements and rubrics for the Poster, Presentation, and Architecture section have been released under the “Rules & Documents” section! Please be sure to read all documents closely and in their entirety. Additionally, the ground motion release date has been pushed back a week to Monday, January 24, 2022. Sorry for any inconvenience! 

Also, reminder that the proposal is due tonight at 11:59 pm PST! Please be sure to check the “Clarifications” section, where we frequently post clarifications and answer questions regarding the official rules.

Good luck with the proposal!


Announcement 2: 11/18/2021

Hi Teams, the official rules as well as information about the proposal, have been released! These documents can be found under the “Rules & Documents” section. Please be sure to read all documents closely and in their entirety.

The “Schedule” section has also been updated with deadlines and release dates for future documents, so please be sure to check it out! The proposal is due Monday, January 17, 2022, at 11:59 pm PST. If you need any clarifications, please go to the “Clarifications” sections, where you can submit clarifications and look at previously posted clarifications.

Good luck with the proposal!


Announcement 1: 10/22/2021

Are you tired of online events? We have an exciting announcement for you as the Seismic Design Competition for 2022 is planned to be an in-person event at Salt Lake City, Utah!!

The interest form for SDC 2022 is out now and can be found in the link below. We encourage you to fill it out by Nov 12. We cannot wait to make new memories together in Salt Lake City!

Click here

Important Dates

Please note that all dates are subject to change! Also all cutoffs are 11:59 pm PST.

Milestone Date / Deadline
Interest Form Friday, November 12, 2021
Rules Released Thursday, November 18, 2021
Proposal Submission Monday, January 17, 2022
Presentation & Poster Requirements Released Monday, January 17, 2022
Ground Motions Released Monday, January 24, 2022
Notification of Proposal Results (aka Teams Invited to Participate) Monday, February 7, 2022
Suggested Submittal Date for Damping Proposals Monday, February 28, 2022
Final Registration Deadline Sunday, April 3, 2022
Final Deadline for Damping Proposal Revisions Tuesday, May 31, 2022
Rule Clarification Form Closes Monday, June 13, 2022
Floor Area Calculations, Performance Predictions, Poster, and Presentation Submission Friday, June 24, 2022
2022 U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering (NCEE) & EERI Annual Meeting

Monday, June 27, 2022

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Friday, July 1, 2022



If you would like to submit a clarification request, please do so here: 

Clarification Submission Form


Please click on the questions to see the answers!


2. Scoring, Presentation, and Poster

  • Q3.1: In the Geotechnical References 2022 document, the project site location is indicated to be near the Interstate 15 overpass at the rail tracks (approximately 40°46'6”N, 111°54'40"W) and testing data comes from the 600W Interchange south of that. We were wondering if that is the true location of the building, or if it was simply just a reference point for the downtown area of Salt Lake City. If the latter, are we allowed to choose any location in the downtown area for the tower (for rendering purposes) or will a lot be provided?

    A: The coordinates are mostly for reference for downtown Salt Lake City. You can pick any location in the downtown area for rendering purposes.

  • Q3.2: Are we allowed to add elements such as elevators, stairs, and furniture in the non-buildable area for architectural renderings and floor plans? Additionally, is there any guidance/limit to how large we can scale the building area for the architecture floor plans? Can the floors in architectural renderings differ from the floor plan in the design guide and if so, do we submit the floor plans based off the design guide areas or architectural floor areas?

    A: Primarily structural elements such as elevators and stairs should be contained within buildable areas and are not permitted to exist in non-buildable areas for renderings and floor plans.  Primarily architectural/aesthetic elements such as facades may extend into non-buildable areas for architectural renderings.  Teams have the freedom to determine how large the model dimensions scale to architectural floor plans.  The architectural floor dimensions should have the same shape and be proportionally very similar to the dimensions of your balsa wood tower floor plans, just of a realistic scale.  When submitting calculations for your tower’s rentable floor areas (mentioned in Section 2.2.b of the Official Rules), teams should submit based on the dimensions of your balsa wood model.  Architectural floor plan images should be included on the poster and potentially in the presentation.

  • Q3.3: The APS score will be based on two parameters which are the prediction and the test results. In an event of collapse, will there be a certain value for the APS score or different calculation method for the APS score?

    A: The analysis prediction score (APS) is used to determine which teams receive a bonus based on accuracy of their drift and acceleration predictions.  This bonus is applied to the final annual building income by reducing the final annual seismic cost.  If collapse occurs during either of the ground motions, an APS score of 100% will be awarded, making the team ineligible to receive the bonus based on the APS.

  • Q3.4: Where should we include the different aspects included in this category? I do not see a separate submission for architecture, so should this be included within the poster or the presentation? This section is not included within the poster requirements so I am just a bit confused on where to include it.

    A: The architecture judging will be based on a combination of the physical model and the architectural rendering and plan layouts in your poster.  You should also discuss architecture in your presentation because it’s part of the presentation rubric.  However, the architecture judges will not be viewing the presentations, so the architecture score itself will not be based on the presentations.  There is no separate submission for architecture.

  • 4. Design Proposals & Damping Device Approval Process

  • Q4.1: Does the content sequences of the proposal must follow the order of the proposal rubric of assessment or is it up to each team to decide the proposal content sequence

    Answer: The team may decide the sequence of the proposal content.

  • Q4.2: As stated in the Clarifications Section, "A complete analysis and a finalized design of the structure are not necessary for the proposal"; however, we are required to submit a computer-generated image of the exposed structural system in the proposal. Does the “exposed structural system” refer to a complete, but preliminary structural design? Also we would like to know how accurate the final design for the competition (with the official ground motion file taken into consideration) has to be in accordance with the proposal-submitted structural system. Would there be a penalization if structural aspects discussed in the proposal are modified or not to be seen in the final design.

    A: To the first question, yes you should submit a complete yet preliminary design.  The model does not have to be fully analyzed, but should be comprehensive enough to show your design intent and the structural layout in a computer-generated image.  As for the second question, your final design does not need to adhere to the preliminary design in the proposal, and there is no penalization for a completely changed design.  You should feel free to modify your structure as necessary throughout the next few months, as long as your final poster and presentation accurately reflect your final design.

  • Q4.3: In section 3 of the proposal, it tells us that we can be guided by the official rules document section 1.2 for the architectural part. If we review section 1.2, they tell us about determining the cost benefit of the structure, that is, annual income. Do we have to include this part regarding costs in the proposal?

    A: No, you do not need to calculate any revenue or cost for the proposal.  We recommend briefly mentioning economic considerations for the structure, but calculations like those in the Official Rules are not necessary.

  • Q4.4: Are we allowed to install the damping devices in the direction of shaking after it is announced during the competition, provided it is in a location that has been previously approved? Or would we have to arrive with the damping devices already installed in both directions?

    A: The direction of shaking will only be determined on shake day. By the time your model should be completely assembled (tentatively Monday 6pm of competition week), you would not know the direction of shaking. You are not allowed to install the damping devices after that time. Therefore, it would be best to install the damping devices in both directions.

  • Q4.5: Can components of the damping devices, such as pins to connect the devices to the tower, exceed the outer footprint of the building or does the entire assembly need to be constrained within the dimensions provided in Figure 12 of the 2022 Design Guide?

    A: Components of damping devices such as pins and connections are not permitted to exceed the outer footprint of the building.  Maximum floor plan dimensions will be checked with templates passed over the structure per Section 5.6.d of the Official Rules.  Violations will be incurred if the template cannot freely pass over any floors; this includes floors with damping devices.

  • Q4.6: One of the criteria used by the judges to approve the damping system is that if the damping system is removed, the structure should be stable and firmly fixed to the base plate. Does this mean the damping system has be designed to be removable?

    A: The damping system is not required to be designed as removable.  The main reason for this criteria is to make sure that the structure is stable and firmly fixed to the base plate in case the SDC Chairs determine that the damping devices need to be removed prior to shaking (noted in Section 4.2 of the Official Rules). In case SDC Chairs determine that the damping devices must be removed, it would benefit teams to design their devices in a way that extraction of the devices would be relatively straightforward and wouldn’t compromise the structural integrity of the tower.

  • Q4.7: For the structure-damper connections, if they are constructed from balsa wood do those members need to adhere to the rules outlining frame member size within section 5.2, and section 5.4 which outlines the rules for connections and gusset plate? As examples of potential violations: a balsa wood member that is 0.4” x 0.2” x 0.75”; or having four 0.2” x 0.2” frame members glued together to create a 0.4” x 0.4” block. Additionally, should the damper be rejected while at competition, would the structure-damper connections need to be removed even if it is clear that they serve no structural purpose?

    A: The structure-damper connections do not need to adhere to the rules outlining frame member size as long as they are described in your approved damping proposal.  If the balsa wood members in your connections are not adequately described in the damping proposal and do not conform to the official rules, please email sdc@eeri.org with an image and/or description of your connection to request approval of the balsa wood members.  If the members do not conform to the Official Rules and have not been approved by the SDC chairs, they will either be removed with the damping device or will be allowed to remain with V penalties deducted per the Official Rules.  Should the damper be rejected, the structure-damper connections could potentially remain in place if it is clear they serve no structural purpose.  However, this is at the discretion of the SDC chairs, who may deem that the connections need to be removed.

  • 5. Structural Model

  • Q5.1: Are calculations of loads for an actual structure needed for the reports (i.e. tile weights, facades, plumbing, electricals, furnitures, live loads, etc.)? or is only the balsa calculations are needed for the strength assessment of real structural loadings? (In this case the balsa model already scales the real self weight of the structure, and the metal rods scales the mentioned loadings above)

    Answer: Only the weight and loading for the balsa wood structure need to be considered.  The weight of a real, full-scale structure does not need to be computed at any point during the competition.

  • Q5.2: Are we allowed to place a floor member in the top of the non-buildable floor area of floor 7 to support the full floor area of floor 8. ie Base of floor member falls 3/16 below the elevation of floor 8.

    Answer: No, you cannot place any floor members in the hollow, non-buildable area below floor 8. No members of any kind can occupy the non-buildable area.

  • Q5.3: What are the rules for wall to frame member connections? Are we allowed to glue a wall member to a frame member that is in contact for more than 1in?

    Answer: The contact area between a wall member and a frame member can be more than 1 inch in any direction.  There is no restriction on length of faying surface in wall member to frame member connections.

  • Q5.4: Can wall members be non rectangular if they meet minimum vertical height requirements? Can there be perforations in the wall member given that the total wall member vertical height is at least 1in but the spacing between the perforations is less than 1in?

    Answer: Wall members can be non-rectangular if the longest vertical distance that can be measured on the wall member is at least 1 inch. Any perforations are allowed in the wall member as long as the total vertical height is at least 1 inch and the total horizontal length is at least 1 inch.  The spacing between the perforations is permitted to be less than 1 inch.

  • Q5.5: What are the correlation boundaries between the real building model with the balsa wood model? Does the balsa wood model have to be exactly the same with the real building model or there can be certain adjustments because we find the contents of the proposal that we have to identify the soil characteristics and how they affect the structure above. But the shaker of the building will be represented by a flat plank not the real soil condition, isn't it kind of biased or is there something we misunderstood?

    Answer: For the geotechnical portion of this project, we are asking teams to consider the effects the soil would have on the “real” building with “real” foundations, although the shaking will occur on a fixed base during the competition. Architectural components should also correspond to the “real” building. The structural parts of the project should focus on the balsa wood model itself, but these would likely imitate the structural components of a “real” building.

  • Q5.6: I wanted to know if I can vary the plan area of the structure to give it an irregular shape, or if I can only add ruffles and thus give it a irregular shape to structure. Another question we have is whether we can use the ROBOT program to model the structure.

    Answer: You may vary the floor area of each floor as long as it is within the maximum floor plan boundaries set by section 5.6d. Your floor area does not have to occupy the maximum floor plan. You may use whatever structural analysis or modeling program you choose, although CSI is providing SAP2000 or ETABS licenses to all teams for free if you want to take advantage of it.

  • Q5.7: Does the specifications for the buildable and non-buildable only apply for structural members and properties of the building? Or does it also apply for architectural designs, etc.

    Answer: The specifications for buildable and non-buildable areas of the model must be followed for all elements of the balsa wood model.  If a team chooses to add architectural components to the physical model itself, those must be within the buildable areas.  Any architectural elements in renderings and images of the tower used in the proposal, presentation, or poster do not have to adhere to the buildable and non-buildable areas but should be consistent with the structural design of the tower.

  • Q5.8: In the rules it says, "Occupants on the rentable floor must be able to access any area of the rentable floor through at least one access point or doorway originating from the interior of the structure". So does this mean we do not need to have any access points to the atriums since they are not our rentable floor area?

    Answer: No access points to the atriums are needed since they are not rentable floor areas.

  • Q5.9: In the rules it states, "Maximum rentable total floor area: 1915 in^2". When we calculated it we got the Maximum rentable total floor area to be 1801.5 in^2. Do we also include the ground floors of the atriums as rentable floors?

    Answer: No atriums can be counted as rentable floor areas since they are not buildable areas, even for ground floors. The maximum rentable total floor area in the official rules is calculated as:

    Max rentable floor area for floors 1-7: 12 x 12 – 6 x 6 = 108 in^2

    Max rentable floor area for floors 8-10 and 16-19: 12 x 12 = 144 in^2

    Max rentable floor area for floors 11-15: 5.5 x 5.5 = 30.25 in^2

    Max rentable total floor area: 108 x 7 + 144 x 7 + 30.25 x 5 = 1915.25 in^2

    Therefore, the maximum rentalable total floor area is set to be 1915 in^2.

  • Q5.10: In Figure 11 of the Design Guide, it says that Floor 10 is a 12x12 but in Figure 13 it shows floor 10 as a 5.5x5.5. Is floor 10 actually a 12x12 because you said we don't account for the floor of the atrium so the 12x12 wouldn't make sense.

    A: The floors are the specific diaphragms at specific elevations so the buildable areas for each floor (figures 10-12 of the design guide) are showing the buildable areas (extents) of the diaphragms.  This lacks information about the buildable volumes above each floor.  The buildable areas of the diaphragms in figures 10-12 are still consistent with the diaphragm shapes in figure 13 (each line immediately below “f = #” in figure 13 represents the floor diaphragm in figures 10-12).  Figure 13 also shows the buildable volumes above each floor.  In the case of floor 10, the buildable area of the diaphragm (12in x 12in) is not the same as the buildable volume above the floor (5.5in x 5.5in).

    Rentable floor areas are derived from the buildable area of the diaphragm.  So the rentable floor areas are also what’s shown in figures 10-12 of the design guide (the floor 10 terrace area could be rented out as a dining area or something).  The bottom of the atrium (floor 1, 6in x 6in center area) is not considered rentable floor area, but the bottom of the terrace (floor 10, full 12in x 12in) is considered rentable floor area.

  • Q5.11: If we decided to make a garden in the architectural design in one of the rentable floors in a buildable area, will it be considered as rentable area and can be included in the our FABI calculation?

    A: A floor area is considered rentable as long as it is in the buildable area and adheres to the requirements in the Official Rules.  In your architectural design, you can decide what a rentable floor area looks like and what purpose it serves.  Regardless of architectural use, the area will be considered rentable and included in the FABI calculation as long as the structural requirements of Section 5.6.c of the Official Rules are observed.

  • Q5.12: It is allowed to conceive an architectural facade in the non-buildable space?

    A: You can have an architectural facade in the non-buildable space in your rendering or images of the structure, but you cannot have any architectural or structural members in the non-buildable space of your physical structure.

  • Q5.13: In past years competition, the maximum rentable floor area has been less than the sum of the allowable floor areas for each floor. In this years competition the maximum rentable floor area IS the sum of the allowable floor areas for each floor. If this is the case, the only way to obtain that maximum rentable floor area would be to have zero tolerance and all columns placed within the perimeter beams, both of which are highly unusual.

    A: We recommend that teams focus on precision of construction to ensure that their rentable floor areas are maximized if they choose to build to the maximum areas.  A slight measurement tolerance will be considered when checking rentable floor areas at the competition.  However, this tolerance is up to the discretion of the SDC chairs.  If teams choose to build diaphragms inside of an outer layer of vertical frame members, diagonal frame members, and/or wall members, the outer layer does not need to be subtracted from the rentable floor area and teams can maximize their area as long as the outer layer is at the edges of the buildable area and the marked perimeter beams are attached to the outer layer.  As for members penetrating the diaphragm, it is shown in Figure 14 in the Design Guide that this missed area also does not need to be subtracted from the rentable area.  Finally, we’d like to remind teams that you do not need to build to the maximum rentable floor area and may choose to build smaller than the full buildable area.

  • Q5.14: What material would be used or required in the problem statement? And regarding the Structural part, if the number of floors is not the maximum, what would be the layout of the building?

    A: All frame members and wall members shall be made of balsa wood. The maximum number of floors is 19 and the minimum number of floors is 13. Teams should make sure that their number of floors is within this range. Regardless of the number of floors that teams choose to have, each floor should comply with the requirements of the Maximum Floor Plan Dimensions as shown in Section 5.6.d.

  • Q5.15: It says for the frame members they must fit within the .2' by .2' by 15' box. Does this mean columns that experience 3-D shape, such as incline columns, are not allowed within our structure?

    A: Inclined columns are allowed as long as they can fit within the 0.2” by 0.2” by 15” box at any orientation. One way to visualize how those columns can fit within the box is to make the height (the longest side) of the columns parallel with the 15” side of the box.

  • Q5.16: Do we have to assemble the structure there in Salt Lake or do we have to take it assembled?

    A: We recommend taking the structure to the competition fully or almost fully assembled, but this is up to the discretion of the teams.  Some teams will send their structure in easily assemblable modules that can be quickly constructed before the start of the competition while most teams will ship the structure in its final state.  Please be aware that all structures must be completely assembled and in their final state by 6pm on Monday of competition week (this timing is tentative but will likely not change significantly).  Therefore, teams who do not ship their structure fully assembled will need to finish constructing it by that time.  Some additional shipping information will be sent in the second mailer.

  • Q5.17: Can the dimensions of the non buildable area in floors 1-7 be modified without crossing the 6x6 dimension?

    A: Each floor of your structural model should fit within the buildable areas shown in Section 5.6.d of the Official Rules. It is at each team’s discretion to decide the exact dimensions for each floor, as long as the dimensions fit within these limits.  Therefore, for floors 1-7, the exact dimensions can be adjusted as long as they do not cross into the hatched 6 in x 6 in region or extend outside the 12 in x 12 in square.

  • Q5.18: In the rules it states: "Additionally, the architect specified that there should be no bulky columns so that the building can maintain an airy look". What is meant by a "bulky column"? The use of "bulky columns" would still be allowed right, it's just not preferred?

    A: The term “bulky columns” in the problem statement generally refers to bundle columns, where vertical frame members are spaced very close together to increase overall column dimensions.  The bolded sentence in Section 5.2.a of the Official Rules imposes a minimum spacing of vertical frame members, essentially disallowing the use of bundle columns consisting of tightly spaced frame members.  All kinds of columns are allowed as long as they satisfy the requirements stated in the Official Rules.

  • Q5.19: In the rules they do not say anything about the minimum area of the atrium, could you tell me what is the minimum area of the atrium

    A: There is a 6 in. x 6. in non-buildable area for floors 1-7. This minimum atrium space is described in Section 5.6.d of the Official Rules.

  • Q5.20: In Section 5.6.c for the rentable floor area, it states that a clear opening with dimensions 1" wide by 2.25" tall is required originating from the interior of the building. Does this access point refer to an opening through the floor plan, such as if there was a stairwell or elevator core? If so, does that mean an opening through the floor plan would be 1" by 1"? Or, do these dimensions just refer to occupants being physically able to walk around the floor with the height clearance of 2.25"?

    A: The 1” x 2.25” access point refers to a clear opening of this dimension on the vertical plane for each floor instead of an opening on the floor plan. It is intended to represent the clearance that occupants need to be able to physically walk around the floor and access other spaces.  An opening through the floor plan is not required, but there are span requirements between beams specified in Section 5.6.c.

  • Q5.21: While members in their final state must fit inside a 0.2" x 0.2" x 15" box, can individual members be glued end-to-end or notched and glued end-to-end to create a composite member longer than 15"? In this case, each separate member would still be less than the specified dimensions.

    A: Yes, this would be typical in members used as columns as long as the individual members satisfy requirements outlined in the Official Rules

  • Q5.22: In figure 14, it is shown that the bottom right floor is considered as non rentable area because it cannot be access from the upper half and the left side of the area so we have to provide the floor area and also the access to each floor area, are we correct or is there something we misunderstood? Second question, since the boundaries for the floor member is only the span of the member, this means we can make all floor member in plus(+) shape with no X or is there a boundary for that too?

    A: Regarding the first question, all rentable floor area must be accessible from the rest of the floor in question.  In Figure 14 of the Design Guide, the bottom right section of floor meets the requirements for maximum spans but would not be counted as rentable floor area because the adjacent sections of floor have spans that are greater than the maximum allowed, making the bottom right section inaccessible.  Regarding the second question, the beam layout is at the discretion of the teams and may be + shaped or x shaped, as long as the span requirements and other requirements of Section 5.6 of the Official Rules are satisfied.

  • Q5.23: Regarding the use of the rentable floor space on top of floor 10, do the openings on the exterior faces (between floor 10 and 11) fall under the category of interior openings or exterior openings? In other words, do we only need 1 opening (counted as interior opening) or 2 openings (counted as exterior opening)?

    A: Only 1 opening is required to access the rentable floor area between the exterior and interior sections of the 10th story.  The only point where 2 openings are required is the exterior of the first floor (Section 5.6.c of the Official Rules).

  • Q5.24: Since the rules are made in English engineering units such as inch and feet but in Indonesia we use SI units and this difference requires a convergence between the two values in each unit. What is the tolerance difference for each value of conversion? because the materials are made and easier to cut in integer numbers but this conversion results in many decimals such as base plate dimensions of 18X18 in. this converts to 45.72X45.72 cm. Is it okay if we round it up to 46X46 cm or is it not allowed?

    A: We recommend that teams using SI units convert imperial units to SI units, add the tolerance (if they need to take advantage of the tolerance), and then round down to the nearest integer of mm to get the maximum allowed dimension.  For example, for the base plate dimension mentioned in the question, Section 5.7.a of the Official Rules describes a 0.25 inch tolerance.  This would result in maximum base plate dimensions of 18.25 in. x 18.25 in., which is 463.55 mm x 463.55 mm.  Rounding down to the nearest integer of mm would give 463 mm x 463 mm.  This will still be within the allowable dimension and will be easier for teams using SI units to cut the base plate.  Please note that the 0.25 in. tolerance is only for the base plate and other dimensions have different tolerances.  This information can be found in the Structural Model section of the Official Rules.  For example, Section 5.2.a specifies that frame member dimensions have a tolerance of 0.01 inches.  The above recommendation is intended for the convenience of teams that use SI units, but the competition is still judged using imperial units.

  • Q5.25: Can we have inclined columns or bracing above the interior beams of the rentable floor area? Does it follow the rule of height clearance of 2.25 inches? Because in the strict sense, vertical columns and wall members are also an interruption to height clearance, which are allowed inside the region of rentable floor area.

    A: If the inclined column or bracing interferes with the opening used for the access point then the rentable area after that bracing will not be included if it has no other access points (see Section 5.6.c of the Official Rules).  Inclined columns and bracing are permitted within the middle of the floor area as long as they don’t interfere with the access points.  Section 5.6.c also states that the area of individual inclined and vertical frame members and wall members penetrating the floor do not need to be subtracted from the rentable floor area.  Please note that for floor 10, inclined columns and bracing are not permitted above the outer section of the rentable floor area (see Figure 13 of the Design Guide and Clarification Question Q5.10).

  • Q5.26: If we had only one sufficient access point (sized 1" wide and 2.25" tall) between two floor areas on a floor and were to glue in a member that would act purely as a piece to hold the dead weight rods in place (i.e. a plate with a 0.5" diameter hole), could that access point still be sufficient or will it be ruled null due to the rod-holding members?

    A: This access point would be ruled null due to the rod-holding members.  The minimum 1 in. x 2.25 in. access point discussed in Section 5.6.c of the Official Rules must be clear of any balsa wood members.

  • Q5.27: Could a gusset plate be added to the 4 sides of an interior column, and the floor beams will be in direct contact with these gusset plates and glued instead of direct contact with the column? (The gusset plate will be added to stiff 2 columns connections together in the floor height

    A: Connections of floor beams may be in direct contact with the gusset plate rather than the interior column. However, please note that  a single gusset member may not be in contact with another gusset member and that gussets must be attached to at least two frame members already in contact (in your scenario, the two column members are already in contact).

  • Q5.28: In the rules it is not clearly stated if, when building the model, all the other frame members contained in a floor, besides the perimetral beams, must be placed in the same plane in order to consider the entire floor a rentable floor area. May we place some members one on top of the other as shown in the design guide, as in case of the members placed in X, as long as they do not exceed 0.2 inch in total thickness in the connection area (Figure 14)?

    A: The top of each floor must be flat and level across the whole floor area according to the first bullet point of Section 5.6.b of the Official Rules.  Teams are, however, permitted to place additional members below the floor plane as long as the other requirements of the Official Rules are met.  For example, Section 5.6.c requires a minimum height clearance of 2.25 in. for all rentable floor areas and Section 5.4.b limits the size of the faying surface between frame member to frame member connections.

  • Q5.29: It is said that the team must provide access point with the specification of 1 in. wide and 2.25 in. height. Does this specification only applies for the lobby floor or the base floor or does it also applies for all the floors of the building?

    A: Every single floor of the building requires an access point as defined in the Official Rules Section 5.6.c within the interior of the floor. Additionally, occupants on the lobby floor, or f =1, should be able to access the exterior of the building through at least two access points or doorways.5

  • Q5.30: Regarding vertical frame members, are we allowed to place horizontal spacers connecting two vertical members, ensuring adequate spacing between vertical members, even if those horizontal spacers are not aligned with floor planes (i.e. placed at the midspan of the columns rather than at a defined floor level)

    A: Yes, you are allowed to place horizontal members between vertical members at any elevation, as long as you ensure that the minimum vertical member spacing requirement and all frame member requirements are met.  Also, remember to check that the horizontal members do not cut off access to any rentable floor area (all rentable areas should be accessible via access points defined in Section 5.6.c of the Official Rules).

  • Q5.31: Section 5.2.a outlines that “vertical frame members must have a clear space of at least 0.25”... [but this] does not apply to horizontal… frame members.” Section 5.4.b adds that the faying surface of two members “shall not exceed 1” from the centroid of the faying surface.” Are we allowed to have a horizontal frame member, the length of which is under 2”, glued along its length to other horizontal frame members, an example of which is included in image 1 (image 1 shown in answer)?

    Image 1: here

    A: Yes, this conforms to the official rules and is allowed.

  • Q5.32: When we attach the frame columns to the base plate, are we allowed to add some kind of footing to the attachment area maybe like a triangle shape cut balsa glued to the column and base plate thus giving additional support?

    A: Per Section 5.4.c of the Official Rules, gusset plates shall be in contact with and glued to at least two frame members in contact.  Since the base plate is not considered a frame member, gusset plates would technically not be allowed.  However, you may be able to make a wall member work as long as the triangle’s vertical and horizontal dimensions are at least 1 in. per Section 5.3.a of the Official Rules.  To attach the model to the base plate, we’d recommend drilling holes or notching the base plate so that frame and wall members can be slotted into the holes and glued for a secure attachment (Section 5.7.c of the Official Rules).

  • Q5.33: 1. If we attach a column with the same length as a wall, does it violate the rules by increasing the dimension wall thus making the wall can not fit in the dimension box for checking or both the wall and column counts as two different elements? 2. If we glue three layers of 2 mm walls does it violate the rules or each wall counts as a different component in the glued state of the wall member checking?

    A: For the first question, the frame member and wall member would count as two separate elements and this would be permitted per Sections 5.2-5.4 of the Official Rules.  For the second question, because these are all wall members layered on top of each other, the final wall would violate Section 5.4.d of the Official Rules, where all wall members in their final glued state must have a thickness less than or equal to 0.1 in. The thickness of your wall in the final glued state based on your description exceeds this limit.

  • Q5.34: Are Gusset Plates allowed to be in the non-buildable floor area?

    A: Gusset plates are not allowed to be in the non-buildable floor area.  All floors of the model must fit within the specified floor plan dimensions per Section 5.6.d of the Official Rules.

  • 6. Strong Ground Motion Testing

  • Q6.1: When will the ground motion data be available? Will it be available before the proposal submission or not? If the ground motion data is available before the proposal submission, wouldn't it be better if we design the building based on the ground motion data?

    Answer: The ground motions will be available on the competition website after the proposal submission. The structure should be designed in accordance with the official rules. A complete analysis and a finalized design of the structure are not necessary for the proposal, so teams shouldn’t need ground motions prior to the proposal submission.  Ground motions from competitions in prior years can be made available upon request to sdc@eeri.org before the new ground motions are released.

  • Q6.2: In Section 6.1 of the official rules, it states that “Structures will be subjected to 2 scaled and modified ground motions”. How does SDC intend on scaling/modifying ground motions for the shake table that will be used during competition? In order to successfully scale the ground motions to our shake table, we plan to choose between preserving acceleration, preserving impulse experienced, or preserving frequency as given by the power spectral density of the ground motion data. Which of these options will give ground motions that are the most similar to the ones used on the competition shake table?

    A: The ground motions posted in the zip file on the competition website are already modified and scaled. These acceleration time histories will be input directly to the shake table.

  • Q6.3: In the text file, the spectral velocity and displacement is given in units of cm/s and cm. Is the g for spectral acceleration in cm/s^2 as well instead of the standard m/s^2?

    A: The Sa values are in terms of “g” – acceleration due to gravity. Multiply values by “g” (= 9.81 m/s^2) to obtain Sa in m/s^2.

  • Q6.4: Can temporary 3D printed supports be used to hold washers and plates while the threaded rod is installed?

    A: Temporary 3D printed supports may be used as long as they are placed and removed within the dead load installation time limit described in Section 6.4a. After the dead load installation time has expired, dead loads must be secured to the structure only through the methods described in Section 6.4a.

  • Q6.5: Regarding the following statement: "Digitally high-pass filter the acceleration recordings in the frequency domain using a 3rd order Butterworth filter with a corner frequency of 0.8 Hz." Why is the Butterworth filter applied to the Fourier transform of the signal and not the signal itself? Shouldn't a Fourier filter be applied to a Fourier transform instead of a Butterworth filter? Could the thought process for doing this sort of filtering be explained?

    A: The Butterworth filter should be applied to the signal itself in the time domain, not the amplitude spectrum in the frequency domain. The wording is incorrect in Section 6.7 and will be amended. It is recommended, however, to look at the response of the signal in the frequency domain to understand why a Butterworth filter with a corner frequency of 0.8 Hz is recommended.

  • Q6.6: What is the model of the accelerometers that will be used during the competition?

    A: The product information for the accelerometers that will likely be used at the competition can be found at the following link: https://www.te.com/usa-en/product-4030-006-120.html

  • Sponsors

    Many thanks to generous sponsors of SDC!



    Post-Earthquake Reconnaissance Workshop (PERW)

    As a part of the Seismic Design Competition (SDC) 2022, SLC-EERI is also organizing Post- Earthquake Reconnaissance Workshop (PERW) from 9 AM to 12 PM on Thursday, 30th June 2022. We strongly encourage all the undergraduates attending the SDC to attend the workshop. If you are attending the competition, please register for the workshop using the link below. The PERW is a valuable opportunity to enhance your knowledge in the field of seismic evaluation and risk assessment. Please join and gain valuable insights from the experts.

    The agenda and speaker details for PERW 2022 can be found here

    PERW 2022 Highlights:

    • Workshop Theme: M5.7 Magna (Utah) Earthquake 2020
    • Specially organized for Undergraduate students
    • Presentations by experts on interesting topics
    • Fun activity
    • Networking opportunities
    • Light refreshments are provided during the break
    • Digital certificate of participation provided (upon request)

    Register Here by the end of Friday, 17th June 2022 (** All the undergraduates can register
    ** Please register only if you are attending the workshop)

    We look forward to seeing you in the workshop!


    Top 9 Proposals (in alphabetical order)

    New York University, Tandon
    Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra
    Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest
    The University of British Columbia
    University at Buffalo
    University of California, Berkeley
    University of California, San Diego
    University of Nevada, Reno
    University of Victoria


    Full Results

    The results for the 2022 Seismic Design Competition are here! To download a copy of the score pdf, just click on the title and you can download it from there.

    Congratulations to all of the teams that participated this year! We hope you learned a lot and hope to see you next year! : D



    1st Place: Technical University of Cluj-Napoca

    2nd Place: Cornell University

    3rd Place: Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest


    Charles Richter Award for Spirit of the Competition: University of British Columbia

    Egor Popov Award for Structural Innovation: Oregon State University


    Fan Favorite Poster: Universitas Indonesia

    T-Shirt Design: University of California, San Diego


    Best Seismic Performance: Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra

    Best Communication Skills Award: Technical University of Cluj-Napoca

    Best Architecture Award: University of Toronto


    Full Scores