2023 Seismic Design Competition

2023 Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition

The 2023 Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition will be held in San Francisco, California, from April 11 to April 14!

We hope to see you at the 2023 Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition!

Please click through the above menu links for more information!



Announcement 5: 01/15/2023
Hi teams, any damping device proposals are due by 11:59 pm PST on Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023. Additionally, as per the Official Rules, the top 9 proposals will receive bonuses during the competition. This list is as follows (in alphabetical order, NOT placement order):

    Cornell University
    Istanbul Technical University
    Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra
    Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest
    Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
    The University of British Columbia
    Universidad Iberoamericana
    University of Massachusetts Amherst
    University of Victoria

We can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with and are excited to see y’all at the event in San Francisco, CA!! : D

Announcement 4: 01/06/2023
Hi teams, thanks to all of the teams that have submitted a proposal and congrats to all of the teams whose proposal has been accepted and invited to the competition!! The list of schools invited to the competition can be found below in alphabetical order:

    Ain Shams University
    Altinbas University
    Brigham Young University
    Cal Poly Pomona
    Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
    California State University, Northridge
    Cornell University
    Helwan University
    Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
    Instanbul Technical University
    Izmir Katip Çelebi University
    McMaster University
    New York University
    North Carolina State University
    Oregon State University
    Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra
    Purdue University
    Seattle University
    Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest
    Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
    The University of British Columbia
    The University of Memphis
    The University of Texas at Austin
    Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas
    Universidad Iberoamericana
    Universidad Politecnica Salesiana
    Universitas Indonesia
    University at Buffalo
    University of California – Berkeley
    University of California – Los Angeles
    University of California – San Diego
    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    University of Massachusetts Amherst
    University of Michigan
    University of Nevada, Reno
    University of Southern California
    University of Toronto
    University of Victoria

Announcement 3: 11/21/2022

Hi teams, the Clarifications form is out now! Please go to the “Clarifications” tab and click on the “Clarification Submission” link to go to the form. Please fill it out and your question shall be answered as soon as possible. Answers for all clarification questions can be found on the “Clarifications” tab.

Thanks and good luck with y’alls proposals!! : D

Announcement 2: 10/29/2022

Hi teams, the rules for SDC 2023 are finally out!! Please refer to the “Rules & Competition Documents” Section to find all of the rules documents and read each one carefully. The proposal this year is due on Friday, December 16, 2022 at 11:59 pm PST. Good luck to all of the teams this year!! : D

If your team hasn’t filled out the interest survey but would still like to participate, it’s not too late! Just shoot an email to: sdc@eeri.org

Announcement 1: 10/04/2022

The 2023 Seismic Design Competition (SDC) season is fast approaching! While the rules and regulations are still being finalized by the Student Leadership Council (SLC)’s SDC chairs, the SLC wants to know in advance how many undergraduate teams are interested in competing next year! Please fill out the interest form below (One per school)!

SDC 2023 Interest Form


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 4, 2022
Rules Released Saturday, October 29, 2022
Proposal Submission Friday, December 16, 2022
Damping Proposal Submission Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Final Registration Deadline TBD
Floor Area Calculations and Performance Predictions Submission TBD



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!


1. Introduction

  • Q1.1: The document states "...the client would like to lease the lowermost and the uppermost two floor level of the structure as retail space." Does this mean the top floor of each tower equaling 2 floors, or the top 2 floors of each building equaling 4 floors top and bottom?

    A: There are a total of 4 floors designated as retail space: floors f=1, f=2, f=n-1, and f=n. The floor designation is for both towers (i.e., floor f=1 consists of the bottom floor for both towers, even though they are not connected to each other). Figure 9, elevation A-A in the design guide is a helpful visual.

  • Q1.2: Due to the absence of a geotechnical reference map to show the coastline of the bay, are we allowed to choose the location of the building in any area located in San Francisco city?

    A: The location for the competition will be announced soon, but in the meantime you can go with downtown San Francisco.

  • Q1.3: Is there a limit to how much we can scale the building model to the real life building for architectural purposes? Additionally, can we use this scale to factor our cost and revenue and so it is not based on the area of the model but of the real life building?

    A: The building model can be scaled only for render purposes to show any aesthetic features of the building if it would be constructed in real life. However, for the cost and revenue, no scaling is allowed as the FABI is based on the area of the wooden model.

  • 6. Design Proposals and Damping Device Approval Process

  • Q6.1:"If the damping system is removed, the balsa wood structure, with all dead load weights attached, should be stable and firmly fixed to the base plate." For the damping device, will it have to be removed during the competition? How might we need to demonstrate that it is fully removable?

    A: The damping device is not required to be designed to be removable during the competition. This section is meant to specify that damping devices should not affect the stability of the structure, rather as a supplemental element to assist in energy dissipation. It will be obvious if stability is compromised if damping devices were to be removed from the structure. Hence, 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.

  • Q6.2: We assumed that the Damping Proposal is due the same day (12/16/2022) as the design proposal, however it's not clearly stated. We wanted to confirm that the due date for the damping proposal

    A: The due date of the damping proposal will be announced to the teams soon. It will be on a separate date from the design proposal submission.

  • 7. Structural Model

  • Q7.1:In plan view, do the skybridges need to be centered between the two towers, or can the skybridges be placed at top/bottom between the towers in plan view? i.e., in elevation view, can the skybridges be staggered from each other?

    A: The skybridges need to be centered between the two towers, i.e., they cannot be staggered from each other. This is further clarified in the Design Guide, Section 4, Floor Requirements.

  • Q7.2:For the roof plate, it specifies that "no part of the roof plate is allowed to not land on the roof surface." However, the dimensions of the sky bridge make it so that it can’t fully attach to the roof. How are we supposed to attach the roof plate so that all parts land on the roof surface?

    A: The roof plate needs to be touching the two towers and the skybridges. We will accept that there are minor areas where the roof plate will not be touching anything, however, it needs to be centered in the building and touching the skybridge and the two towers. Please click here to see  illustrative sketch (not drawn to scale).

  • Q7.3: Can a curtain wall be used in the sky bridge? (For example gusset plates)

    A: Curtain walls as non-structural elements should not be in the actual physical model but can be added in the architectural rendering. Furthermore, gusset plates are not curtain walls. Gusset plates are permitted but shall not be in contact with any wall members. A gusset plate shall be in contact with and glued to at least two frame members in contact. Each gusset plate shall fit in a 0.100 in. by 1 in. by 1 in. box. Also, each individual wall member in its final state attached to the model shall fit in a 0.100 in. by 3.000 in. by 11.000 in. box.

  • Q7.4: For an area of dimensions 3.67*2.75 (in) with only cross (X) floor element. Are these dimensions valid rentable area?

    A: Refer to Figure 12 in the Design Guide, especially to the top left X bracing orientation for the floor rentable area. For an area to be counted as rentable area, a span from any point perpendicular to a beam bordering the opening has to be 2.5 inches or less.

  • Q7.5: Is there any restriction on how the sky bridges are connected to the towers? For example, does the skybridge have to be connected on the outside of the tower or can members of the bridge extend into the towers? Also, for the topmost skybridge since it must be between the top two floors, does that mean it should have 2 crosswalks between the towers (in floors n and n-1) or should it only have one?

    A: There is no restriction on how to connect the sky bridges to other structural elements as long as you abide by the other rules mentioned in the “Design Guide”. The topmost skybridge has to have two crosswalks.

  • Q7.6: Can we place members to define the roof of a skybride? For e.g. we keep a skybridge at F=10. Then its roof would be at F=11. Can we place any members in the skybridge area (central 3x3 sq. in) of F=11 which will act as its roof?

    A: No, If you use the area on the roof of the skybridge, you will use it for your rentable area. So you are not allowed to put any members on the top of the skybridge as the roof is not counted as a rentable area!

  • 8. Strong Ground Motion Testing

  • Q8.1: It is stated that there are 2 different weight models specified for 2 different earthquake directions specified in the design guide. These loads are min. and max. values are certain, but the dead load weights to be installed in the mezzanine floors are not clearly expressed. Since we do not want to make any mistakes regarding this, we kindly ask you to indicate how much weight will be applied for the given two directions for different floor levels.

    A: The floor dead loads are installed at specific floor levels only. The details can be found in section 8.3 of the ‘Official Rules’ and section 5 and 8 of ‘Design Guide’.

  • Q8.2:In the design guide, it is stated that the accelerometer to be placed on the model will be fixed with the help of clamps. Since we could not find any clear information about the weight of the accelerometer and the clamp, we kindly ask you to share the accelerometer and the total clamp weight to be used in order to calculate the maximum displacement and acceleration values of the structural model.

    A: Please refer to section 8.3b of the ‘Official rules’.

  • 11. Judging and Appeals

  • Q11.1: Will the teams be allowed to work on the building model on day one of the competition? (to repair any damage that may occur to the model during transportation)

    A: The teams will be able to work on the first day of the competition until we start the preliminary judging. Roughly the students have until 6 pm of that day to fix any damages that might occur from the transportation process. However, once we start the preliminary judging  the students are not allowed to touch the building.

  • Q11.2: Will there be an address to be delivered by SLC EERI after the model is delivered to the USA by cargo? Will there be a place where the model will be kept until our team comes to America?

    A: Yes, dedicated space with a mailing address will be provided. The details will be provided soon.

  • Q11.3: We would like to know if we need to have a chapter by the time we submit the proposal. This is the first time that a team from *** University will participate in the Seismic Design Competition. We do not have a chapter yet and we haven't been approved for the chapter. We were a bit worried that it would disqualify us. Do we need to have a chapter by the time we submit the proposal ?

    A: No, you do not need to have the student chapter officially established. We understand that it takes time to establish the chapter, and you are actively working on getting the approval for an official chapter. We welcome your participation and encourage you to follow up with EERI about your student chapter status.

  • Sponsors

    Many thanks to generous sponsors of SDC!



    Post-Earthquake Reconnaissance Workshop (PERW)



    Top 9 Proposals (in alphabetical order)
      Cornell University
      Istanbul Technical University
      Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra
      Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest
      Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
      The University of British Columbia
      Universidad Iberoamericana
      University of Massachusetts Amherst
      University of Victoria