2024 Seismic Design Competition

2024 Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition

The 2024 Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition will be held in Seattle, Washington, from April 9 to April 12!

We hope to see you at the 2024 Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition!

Please click through the above menu links for more information!

For SDC questions, please contact: sdc@eeri.org

For general team and participation questions, please contact: slc@eeri.org


Getting Started

Interested in competing in the Seismic Design Competition but don’t know where to start? The slides here include helpful start up information for new teams and instructions on how to go about starting a team and a student EERI chapter if your school doesn’t have one yet! Please reach out to slc@eeri.org with any questions.


Helpful Links:

EERI Mission

EERI Student Chapters

EERI Student Chapter Best Practices

EERI Annual Report Submission

Join EERI Today


Announcement 13: 06/05/2024

Join the 2024-2025 Student Leadership Council!

Are you a graduate student or planning to start graduate school in Fall 2024? Do you have a passion for earthquake engineering? If you enjoy working in a collaborative and dynamic environment with fellow graduate students towards common goals, we want you! Be a part of the team that organizes the EERI Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition. We are excited to invite applications for the EERI Student Leadership Council (SLC) for the 2024-2025 term.

Application Deadline: June 16th, 2024, at 11:59 PM PDT

Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity. Please fill out the form to express your interest in joining the SLC this year. Feel free to share this announcement with other interested graduate students.

SLC 2024-2025 Form


Announcement 12: 04/05/2024

Hi teams, the deadline to submit posters and presentations has been extended to all teams to Monday, April 8, 2024, at 11:59 pm PST! We can’t wait to see you soon! Good luck!


Announcement 11: 03/09/2024

Hi teams, the architecture rubric, presentation requirements, and poster requirements have been posted under the “Rules and Documents” tab! Also, links for the team accomodation form, the poster and presentation form, performance predictions form, and shake day song form are under the “Forms” tab! Good luck!


Announcement 10: 03/06/2024

Hi teams, the registration deadline for the Seismic Design Competition has been extended to March 8, 11:59 pm PST. All team members attending the competition are required to register using the link here.

During registration, please select “Seismic Design Competition (SDC) Team Member (Advance Fee: $175.00 USD).”

For additional information, please consult Mailer #1 sent on January 11. If your team captain has not received it, please contact us via email. Any registration inquiries should be directed to slc@eeri.org with the subject line “University Name – Registration Query.”


Announcement 9: 03/03/2024

Hi teams, we are extending the PBEE (SP3) Award until March 31, 2024!! Also, there are SP3 webinar resources available here.


Announcement 8: 02/21/2024

Hi teams, the files for Ground Motion #1 are released! Please find the zip file in the “Rules & Competition Documents” tab. Note: The spectrum file corresponded to the pseudo-acceleration spectrum for GM#1 is in units of g. Similarly, the acceleration units for the record are also in g.


Announcement 7: 02/06/2024

We hope this announcement finds you well and in high spirits as your teams gear up for the upcoming Seismic Design Competition. We are excited to announce the introduction of a new award in the Seismic Design Competition – the EERI 2024 SDC Cornell and Krawinkler Award for Excellence in Performance Based Earthquake Engineering (PBEE).

This award is dedicated to C. Allin Cornell and Helmut Krawinkler, esteemed faculty colleagues at Stanford University, whose pioneering work in structural reliability and seismic design laid the foundation for FEMA P-58. In recognition of their immense contributions to PBEE, the team demonstrating the best understanding of the PBEE process will be honored with this prestigious award.

Award Details:

    Problem statement: Please find the detailed problem statement in the “Rules & Documents” section.
    Deliverable: Pre-recorded video presentation (maximum 5 minutes)
    Deadline: 11:59 PM Pacific Time on March 15th, 2024
    Prize amount: 200$
    Submission Email: eeri-sdc@hbrisk.com (cc sdc@eeri.org)
    Email Subject Line: “2024 SDC PBEE Award Submission – University Name”
    Video Hosting Platforms: Dropbox, YouTube, or any easily accessible platform

The scoring for this award is independent of the SDC and will not impact the overall SDC scores. Please refer to the document in the “Rules & Documents” section for detailed information on the problem statement, analysis points and requirements.

We encourage all participating teams to seize this opportunity to learn about PBEE and showcase your skills. If you have any questions or need further clarification, feel free to reach out to us. For questions specific to the award and its problem statement, please direct your queries to eeri-sdc@hbrisk.com (cc sdc@eeri.org).

We look forward to your participation and wish you the best in your preparations!


Announcement 6: 01/19/2024

Hi teams! First off, apologies, there was a mistake on the website previously about the damping proposal due date being February 5, 2024. To clarify, the damping proposal due date is Friday, January 26, 2024 at 11:59 pm PST.

Also, Mailer #1 was sent out to team captains on January 11th. If your team captain has not received the email, please send us an email at slc@eeri.org with the subject line ‘Mailer 1 not received,’ and we will forward you the mailer.

If there is a change in the team captain, please send us an email at slc@eeri.org with the subject line ‘University Name – Team Captain Change,’ including the new team captain’s name and email address. Please cc the previous team captain and your advisor in the email.

Teams that have filled out the request for Etabs/SAP2000 licenses for the competition have been assigned the cloud license, thanks to generous support from CSI. Please ask your team captain to check their emails for software assignment. If you encounter any trouble accessing the licenses, please send us an email at slc@eeri.org with the subject line ‘University Name – Software License Issue.’


Announcement 5: 01/12/2024

Our t-shirt design contest is now live! Designs are due Friday, Feb. 9, 2024 at 11:59 PST and late submissions will not be accepted! All rules are outlined in the T-shirt Competition document in the Rules & Documents tab, so be sure to read carefully and reach out with any questions. We’re excited to see what everyone comes up with!


Announcement 4: 01/05/2024

Hi teams, any damping device proposals are due by 11:59 pm PST on Friday, January 26, 2024. Please see the Damping Proposal Requirements & Rubric on the Rules & Documents page.

Also, 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:

    Altinbas University
    Brigham Young University
    Bucknell University
    California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
    California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
    California State University, Northridge
    Cornell University
    Helwan University
    Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
    Iowa State University
    Istanbul Technical University
    Izmir Katip Celebi
    Karadeniz Technical University
    McMaster University
    New York University
    North Carolina State University
    Oregon State University
    Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra
    Portland State University
    Purdue University
    San Francisco State University
    Seattle University
    Stanford University
    Technical University of Civil Engineering of Bucharest
    Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
    The Ohio State University
    The University of British Columbia
    The University of Texas at Austin
    The University of Victoria
    Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas ESPE
    Universidad Iberoamericana
    Universidad Politecnica Salesiana
    Universitas Indonesia
    Universiti Teknologi Malyasia
    University at Buffalo
    University of California, Berkeley
    University of California, Davis
    University of California, Los Angeles
    University of California, San Diego
    University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
    University of Massachusetts Amherst
    University of Memphis
    University of Southern California
    University of Toronto
    University of Washington

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):

    California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
    Cornell University
    Istanbul Technical University
    Karadeniz Technical University
    Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
    The University of British Columbia
    University at Buffalo
    University of California, Los Angeles
    University of Southern California

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


Announcement 3: 12/04/2023

Computers and Structures, Inc. (CSI) has generously extended support by offering software licenses for Etabs and SAP2000 to teams that require access to the analysis softwares and have been unable to secure a license through their university or school. Please fill out the License Request Form – here.

Please use your university/ school email while filling out the form. This form is exclusively for teams facing challenges in obtaining licenses through their academic institutions. We kindly ask that all teams submit the form by Friday, December 15, 2023 at 11:59 pm PST to ensure ample time for processing.


Announcement 2: 10/23/2023

Hi teams, the rules for SDC 2024 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 15, 2023 at 11:59 pm PST. Good luck to all of the teams this year!! : D

The Boring Logs report was obtained from the Washington Geologic Portal.

Also, reminder that the SLC has created a Discord channel for student communication with the SLC! The invitation link for the discord channel can be found in the “Forms” tab.

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: 09/06/2023

The 2024 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 located in the “Forms” tab above. The SLC has also created a Discord channel for student communication with the SLC! The invitation link for the discord channel can be found in the “Forms” tab as well.

This year, the SLC has also created slides to help get teams started! These slides also include instructions on how to go about starting a team and a student EERI chapter if your school doesn’t have one yet. This information can be found in the new “Getting Started” tab above.

Please reach out to: slc@eeri.org with any questions and we hope to see you all in Seattle, WA!!


Rules & Competition Documents



Official Rules 2024

Boring Log (Obtained from the Washington Geologic Portal)


Additional Helpful Documents

Design Guide 2024

Ground Motion Selection Guide


Requirements & Rubrics

Proposal Requirements 2024

Damping Requirements & Rubric 2024

SDC T-shirt Competition 2024

2024 Cornell and Krawinkler Award in PBEE

2024 Architecture Rubric

2024 Poster Requirements

2024 Presentation Requirements


Ground Motion Files

Note: The spectrum file corresponded to the pseudo-acceleration spectrum for GM#1 is in units of g. Similarly, the acceleration units for the record are also in g.

Ground Motion 1

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, October 13, 2023
Proposal Submission Friday, December 15, 2023
Proposal Acceptance Tuesday, January 5, 2024
Damping Proposal Submission Friday, January 26, 2024
Damping Proposal Acceptance Monday, February 5, 2024
Final Registration Friday, March 8, 2024
Floor Area Calculations & Performance Predictions TBD


*If a team has not submitted the interest survey but would like to participate in the competition, please contact slc@eeri.org.


Clarifications can only be asked via the SDC 2024 Discord channel this year.

Clarifications will mainly be posted in the SDC 2024 Discord Channel and then copied to the website. To join the SDC 2024 Discord Channel, please click here.

There was a clarification rules meeting on Friday, December 1, 2023. The video recording for the event can be found on our Youtube channel here. The document with the asked questions and their corresponding answers can be found here.

Please click on the tabs below to show clarifications for different topics.

In each section, please click on the questions to see the answers! To make the photos in the questions and answers less blurry and / or smaller, please click on the photo to bring it to a normal size and make it sharper.


2024 Logistics

  • I was wondering if we are to register in the 2024 Annual Meeting in Seattle because the EERI 2024 SDC is the same date and time as the meeting or we register somewhere else for the EERI 2024 SDC. I was also wondering if the Special Session Proposals and Poster Abstracts is needed for EERI 2024 SDC or is it something else because the due date is coming up on October 17th and I wanted to make sure. Do we just need to follow the schedule on 2024 Seismic Design Competition website? We are also waiting for the 2024 rules and other documents for the competition, so would it be possible if you post updates in the discord whenever it is updated on the website?

    Registration for SDC team members has not opened yet. The Special Sessions Proposals and Poster abstracts are not part of the SDC, but rather the conference portion of the EERI Annual Meeting. The schedule on the SDC website is a good guide as for when to expect milestones to occur and we will be posting updates here, our website, our social media, and sending periodic emails to help keep everyone informed. On the discord, updates regarding important information will be put in the announcements channel.

  • I noticed that the rules and design guide mention that GM#1 will be released on the SDC website. However, it doesn't appear to be up yet. Will GM#1 be released before the proposal is due?

    GM#1 will be released after the proposal due date, sometime in January.

  • We would like to know if there is any limit to the number of advisors we can have. We currently have one faculty advisor. My team and I were looking to get advice from a different professor but he has requested that he be made an advisor first. Are teams limited to one advisor, or does the term "advisor" mentioned in the rules simply refer to anyone who advises the team, with or without an official position?

    There is no limit to the number of faculty advisors a team can have, but each team needs at least one. The “advisor” mentioned in the rules refers to anyone who may advise the team, whether that’s a grad student, professor, or working professional. If this professor wants to become an official faculty advisor, then they should email eeri@eeri.org and cc silvana@eeri.org stating their intent to become a (secondary, tertiary, etc.) faculty advisor for the team.

  • We noticed that there is a new rule to not use Styrofoam beads, our team uses and reuses each year the larger size packing peanuts are these still allowed? or should we be looking for alternatives?

    You can keep using the large size packing peanuts as in the previous years, as long as you maintain the cleanliness of the setup room and your workspace throughout the competition.

  • Noticed that BC schools/club members are to get their membership through EERI-BC this year, is this membership acceptable to participate in the competition or is the regular $25 EERI student membership also required?

    Regional chapter memberships are limited specifically to each regional chapter. You will still need to have active EERI student membership to participate in SDC. Please go to https://eeri.org/join-eeri-today to renew your membership or join EERI today. Thanks!

  • Under the official rules, there stated a damper rule. But I wasn't able to find it in the EERI website.

    There would be a separate deadline for submitting a damper proposal. The damper proposal requirements would be released soon.

  • I would like to ask you about the proposal submission, is it enough to send it to sdc@eeri.org ? Or what is the total procedure?

    A PDF of the document must be emailed to the SDC Chairs at the following email address by the date listed on the competition website. The SDC Chairs will confirm the submission within 48 hours of receiving it. If the team does not hear back from the SDC Chairs, please reach out to confirm the submission was received.


  • Can we rearrange the order of the titles in the design proposal? Example: introduction, ground motion selection, architectural description, etc?

    Page 1 should be the title page, and page 6 should contain works cited. However, in between, you can arrange the order as you like. Bear in mind that if the titles are not logically and effectively organized, you will lose points in the organization and presentation category. Please check the “2024 Design Proposal Requirements and Rubrics.” Therefore, we suggest that the effective order is as shown in the rubric, but feel free to adjust as long as it is logical.

  • What’s the last time to send the proposal? And according to which time zone, knowing I’m in Turkey. We don’t need to fill any form right? Just a mail to the chairs of SDC?

    Friday, December 15, 2023. 11:59 pm Pacific time.
    You were supposed to submit the interest survey by October 13th. If you haven’t, you may email sdc@eeri.org. If you’ve already submitted the interest survey, then just email your proposal to sdc@eeri.org.
    Refer to section 1.4 in the official rules and the 2024 design proposal requirements and rubric on page 2 for more details.

  • Will the top three proposals be announced by 5th Jan?

    The top 9 proposals (in alphabetical order) are now announced on the SDC 2024 page. Please check the Announcments tab.

  • Will more “in-person” rule clarification meetings be held?

    If there is interest, then the likelihood of another meeting is high. Most likely after the start of the new year, but not before the proposals are due.

2024 Official Rules: Architectural, Geotechnical, & Design

  • My team and I are wondering if we can use the site given in the ground motion as our site location or do we need find a different one. Thank you and hope to hear from you soon.

    Please use the same site (4th and James). This site corresponds to the location where the boring logs were obtained and is the assumed location of the building.

  • Our team is trying to find out if there's a specific use for the building, as last year's official rules included what the client wanted each side of the building/sky bridges to be used for (ie. retail, residential, commercial) whereas this year's official rules don't specifically outline a floor/building program (or any that we can find).

    It’s left for the architects of each team to decide the purpose of different parts of the building along its height or the building as a whole. Since building owners may desire flexible usage, the purposes might change over time, resulting in a shift in mass. Thus, the teams are tasked with architecturally designing the spaces inside to serve multiple purposes, allowing for reuse or a change in the building’s intended purposes.

  • Is it acceptable if the land you provide appears to be slightly sloped, even though the regulations specify that it should be flat?

    Assume it is flat according to the Official Rules.

  • If the site is not perfectly aligned with the cardinal points and our building needs to be tested for perfect alignment with specific cardinal points, should we also consider this aspect in the layout of the construction? Is there an issue if the buildings do not adhere to the rectangular pattern of the city, regarding the architectural aspect?

    For testing purposes, please use cardinal points that match those in Figure 8 of the Design Guide.

  • And should the cardinal points be respected in architecture as well? (see photo in answer)

    Photo with question:


    The North and South directions indicated in Figure 8 are mostly for testing of the structural model. You can potentially orient the building so that it better matches the city grid in your Architectural model and renders. Just be clear about it in your proposal and make sure to use the North direction indicated in Figure 8 for your structural balsa wood model.

  • Can we make changes to our design after the project proposal we will send on December 15 ? For example, increasing or decreasing the number of floors or minor changes in floor plans.

    You can generally make changes to your design, even your structural design, after the project proposal, except regarding damping devices. Damping devices must be approved by us based on your damping proposal submitted by the damping proposal deadline (see Section 7 of the official rules). The damping device, if approved, has to be exactly as shown in your approved damping proposal. However, you can choose to not use a damping device even after submitting a damping proposal, but then that means you won’t get the corresponding bonus as well.

  • I wonder if it's possible to consider a foundation type for our building in project proposal. If it's possible, are there any restrictions about foundation consideration?

    In the proposal, you should definitely mention the type of foundation you’re considering and how the seismicity and soil conditions impact the foundation and design considerations. There are no restrictions for the type of foundation considered in the proposal. However, note, isolated foundations are not allowed for the physical model.

  • We choose where the building will be located? (according to the B-1, B-2 Bore Hole data sent to us). We could not see any information regarding this issue in the document sent. (See photo in answer)

    Photo from question:


    The location of the building is 4th and James.

  • We were wondering if it is allowed to shift the rentable floor areas in Zones 1 and 2 (8inx12in and 10inx12in) towards the center as shown on the attached drawing. In general, are we allowed to play around with the green areas (horizontal shift or maybe rotate around a vertical axis as long as the areas are within the stated limits of 8inx12in and 10inx12in? (See photo in answer)

    Photo for Question:


    The non-buildable areas cannot be moved. It is implied that there are limitations in situ that restrict any form of structural construction in such regions.

    Follow up Question:

    So we are sticking exactly to plan drawings given for Zones 1 and 2.


    Yes. You can change dimensions of the green areas as you deem appropriate, as long as you are confined within the buildable area region.

  • Should we assume that the top of the foundation of our building would begin at ground level or would considering a parking garage/basement/storage area be allowed below the ground level which would permit the top of our foundation to be at a lower depth? From my understanding the majority of structures like ours would have some sort of subterranean structure like I described.

    Architecturally you can include anything you deem necessary, including garages or basements, but the structural model should just represent the structure above ground.

  • Can we have different uses in the zones? for example can floor 3 be residential but floor 4 be commercial (restaurant or office)?


  • The building footprint is defined as the maximum floor plan area projected onto the base plate in square inches. Does this mean all the floors or just the first floor?

    Taking whichever floor has the largest area when looking from above – this is the building footprint.

  • For architectural design, what are the limits? Can they affect surrounding land and/or possible adjacent buildings?

    Make the architecture the focus of the building itself. Extra work on land and
    surroundings should be justified and limited to the lot area for the proposal and architectural design portions.

  • Does the number of floors have any positive effect in general?

    The more floors there are, the more area there is to rent and obtain income. However, more floors also means more weight and more dead loads. There is a maximum and minimum number of floor areas. Winning the competition often denotes the need for the maximum floors to get the most rentable income. Different factors such as construction or shipment costs may lead every team to making a different choice about the number of floors in their structure. (Section 8.2.d)

  • We would like to know if it is possible to add mezzanine or half-floor levels to the tower for the architectural portion of the tower's design. Furthermore, we wanted to clarify what the true scale of the tower would be, for architectural purposes.

    You have complete freedom in your architectural design, as long as it is relatively consistent with the structural model. A mezzanine for architectural purposes is fine. For scaling you would have to establish a realistic story height for your architectural design and use that as your reference. Let me know if further clarification is needed.

  • Can I get clarification on which the N/S face is and E/W face? If N/S is chosen would we load the structure like in elevation AA or BB?

    Choosing the N/S direction for shaking will result in the structure being loaded as depicted in elevation B-B. Alternatively, if the E/W direction is chosen, the structure will be loaded as illustrated in elevation A-A.

  • If there are mid height beams not forming a rentable floor area, are they allowed?

    To maintain unobstructed clearance in double-height stories, mid-height beams are exclusively permitted within the building perimeter.

  • Are there restrictions on columns or bracing ( vertically angled members) going through these spaces? as they are not horizontal beams. Addtionally, are vertically angled bracing members permitted, if they cut into the rentable floor area, given that this loss is accounted for in building calculations.

    There’s no restrictions, but keep in mind that you have to ensure a clear opening of 2.25 inch x 1 inch for an area to be counted as rentable.

2024 Official Rules: Structural Model

  • Our team is looking for clarification on Section 9.4a in the Official Rules. Does "the dead load located nearest the top of the structure will add up to 2.76lbs" mean that the 3 dead load rods in zone 3 will each weigh 0.92lbs? Further, does "the rest of the floors will add up to 2.36lbs/floor" mean the same (ie in 19 floor design 5 dead load rods at 0.472lbs each)? This would then be dependent on overall building height. Additionally, please provide clarification on the phrasing 2.36lbs/floor. Thank you so much.

    The building has loads on specific floor levels in the form of steel rods, laid out in Figure 2 of the rules and the Design Guide. The load on every floor is 2.36 lbs, except for the topmost floor. Let me know if the attached figure helps clarify the load specification.

  • I am writing on behalf of the [certain university] SDC Team to seek clarification regarding the construction guidelines for beams in the upcoming competition. Specifically, we would like to inquire whether the use of outside beams [...] is allowable for our project. Alternatively, are we obligated to construct the beams piece by piece, [...] (with beam and column centerlines aligning)?

    We interpreted “outside beams” as perimeter beams that connect to perimeter columns with a specific eccentricity, causing the centerline of the columns to deviate towards the inner part of the building, rather than aligning with the centerline of the beams.

    Both configurations are okay according to the rules, provided that the layout provided by the outermost face of the perimeter beams is within the maximum dimensions specified for the building. Please also check that your continuous members (beams or columns) are not longer than the maximum length specified in the Design Guide.

  • We are exploring the possibility of reducing the area of Zone 3 in our design. In reference to the design guide, particularly the rule stating, "Typical floor plans of maximum buildable areas for different zones of the building are shown in Figure 8," we are considering a design where the building follows the sequence from ground to top as Zone 1 - Zone 2 - Zone 1. We seek your clarification on whether this modification is permissible. To clarify further, our primary objective is to minimize the impact of dead loads in Zone 3. In other words, we seek to prevent inserting dead loads in Zone 3. To achieve this, we are considering a design where the building follows the sequence from ground to top as Zone 1 - Zone 2 - Zone 1. This strategic arrangement aims to optimize our structure while adhering to the guidelines set forth in the competition.

    Teams may choose to have floors that are smaller than the maximum buildable areas in their corresponding zones. However, it is also each team’s responsibility to make sure that the dead loads can be properly applied at each location. With that being said, for Zone 3, floors with 8” x 12” size are not permitted since dead loads in Zone 3 can not be properly applied under this configuration.

  • I would like to ask you to clarify a point if possible: From which side will the reinforcement stick be inserted into the model? Is it certain?

    Floor dead load connections are required in both North-South and East-West directions and to be placed according to Figure 2 in the official rules and the drawings found in the Design Guide. They are required in both directions because the shaking direction (and therefore the dead load orientation) is not known until the day of shaking at the competition.

  • Our team needs to clarify about if we can use horizontal outer bracings at the middle of the Doubled floors and if we will put all the response spectra of the 11 GM compared to the target spectrum for Gm2 in one figure or in a separate figures?

    Horizontal bracing cutting through the middle of any floor. For the spectra comparison, showing all the ground-motion spectra along with the target spectrum in one figure is acceptable and fairly common in practice.

  • I'd like to confirm whether it is acceptable to attach the wall member to vertical frame members, or wall member to wall member, with adhesive. I believe this approach aligns with the rules, specifically, the stipulation that "Any two adjacent vertical FRAME members must have a clear space of at least 0.25 in. between them." Please note that when you look at the pictures, remember that you will look at them from the top-view. The texts were plotted in black colour since I could not prevent it, so it could be difficult to see for you, they are written in the center of the shapes. (See photos in answer)

    Photos from question:


    Both connections are acceptable.

  • Are we allowed to introduce transition members over the regions as shown on the attached drawing. The inclined members serve as vertical support members for the cantilevering portion of the upper zone floor and they would have no relation to any floor i.e. they do not contribute to any increase on the the permissible floor areas. (See photo in answer)

    Photo for Question:


    While adding diagonal members to support your upper floors is acceptable, these cannot be located in the non-buildable areas demarcated in Figure 1 of the Official Rules. No structural elements are allowed in the non-buildable area. As such, the scheme that you’re showing would not be compliant.

  • I want to clarify the floor dead load. In section 9.5.a, the rule requires "the floor dead load should be installed while centered with the center of the base plate". The maximum buildable area for zones 1 and 2 is not centered with the center of the base plate. Do we need to move our dead load accordingly to the center of the base plate or center it against the maximum buildable area? For zone 3, does the dead load need to be centered with the center of the base plate? We understand zone 3 can't be 12''x8'' because the load is at 3'' from the center. The load will be outside the tower. However, what if our floor plan is 12''x10''. Where should floor dead loads be if we look at the floor dead loads from the plan view?

    Please refer to section 8.3 and 8.7 (and Figures 2-3) for precise floor dead load locations as mentioned in section 9.5a: “Each floor dead load shall be securely attached to the structural model at the floors indicated in Section 8.7 in the direction perpendicular to shaking”.

  • Minimum height clearance for the floors/model?

    Design guide: 2.25” is the minimum vertical height clearance for each floor
    (section 8.2.a). The elevation of each floor are specified in Table 4 of the Official Rules and must be within ¼” tolerance.

  • Clearance for floor area calculation: if the clearance spans greater than 2.5 inches will there be a deduction? Or will the whole floor not count?

    Whatever region within the floor does not meet the criteria, this region is counted as non-rentable floor area. If the rest of the floor meets the criteria, the rest of the floor would still count towards your rentable income. It is not a violation, but it will just not be counted in your overall rentable floor area so it will not benefit you in your FABI.

  • Can we have structural floor members in floors 1 and 14 as long as it doesn’t qualify as floor area with nonstructurals? Referring to outside the perimeter of maximum area.

    No members should be placed outside the the buildable area since it will not pass the template test.

  • Can the structural form be curved?

    We recommend that teams keep the structural model rectangular, but the architecture can have curved aspects. A round floor area is still subject to the maximum floor area, so a circular floor with the diameter of the maximum length would have less area than the equivalent square area. The architecture can have curved aspects in your rendering.

  • What is meant by the weight should not exceed 5 lbs?

    The weight should not exceed 5 lbs. This includes the base plate, roof plate, and the damping devices. “For scoring purposes, the Structural Model Weight, 𝑊𝑠, is equal to the weight of the structural model including damping devices but does not include the weight of the floor dead loads, roof dead load, base plate, or roof plate.” Section 8.13

  • The building footprint, 𝐴𝑓, is defined as the maximum floor plan area projected onto the base plate in square inches. Does this mean all the floors or just the first floor?

    Taking whichever floor has the largest area when looking from above – this is the building footprint

  • Is there a minimum or maximum distance in the vertical plane?

    Yes. The minimum height clearance of each floor between members is 2.25”. There also needs to be access points within each floor that measure 2.5” x 1” (rectangular in shape) in order for areas to count as rentable areas. Section 8.2.d Also see Section 8.2.a for elevation requirement. There is a 1/4″ tolerance. Table 4 also shows the floor and roof elevations for various model configurations.

2024 Official Rules: Ground Motion & Response Spectrum

  • When following the ground motion selection guide, the values resulting from one step are then used as inputs in the next step. Should we be using the values that are shown in the selection guide as inputs in the next step, or the values we get from the various websites? I ask because these are for some reason different. For example, the USGS disaggregation tool, when given the exact parameters shown in the selection guide, produces different results (i.e. distance = 66.85 km, not 50.33 km). Then, when searching through NGA-West2, the selection guide suggests to filter the distance to 50.33 km +/- 20 km = [30.33,70.33] km. Restating the question, should we use this value, or 66.85 km +/- 20 km = [46.85,86.85] km? Thank you!

    The ground motion selection guide is provided as reference. Please use the values from the platform for your own selection. If you have trouble finding a suitable ground motion set with these new values, then use the values from the guide and state the reasons why you did not use the exact values.

  • In the selection guide the values used for the response spectra are those of the design spectrum, shouldn’t we use the ones of multiple-period MCER spectrum?

    Yes. Use MCER instead.

  • My team is wondering if instead of entering 30 for the number of records collected in the PEER tool (number used in the guide provided), we can directly put 11 directly on the tool, and put these in the proposal with their respective graph. And another question would be if we should scale them with their respective scale factor before placing them in the proposal.

    1.) You can put 11 ground motions in the platform. However, usually one would ask the platform for a bigger number and then choose the best 11 based on engineering judgement.
    2.) A Figure including the scaled response spectra at the target level and the target spectrum is recommended.

  • In the selection guide the values used for the response spectra are those of the design spectrum, shouldn’t we use the ones of multiple-period MCER spectrum?

    Yes. Use MCER instead.

  • We Selected of at least 11 ground motions representative of GM#2 and GM#2 but I want to ask about should we give detail data? Just is graph suitable? Do we have to use RotD100?

    Details are required, along with the figure. Please refer to page 22 of the GROUND MOTION SELECTION GUIDE for further information.
    Yes, based on Asce 7-22, since you are matching MCEr, then you should use RotD100!

  • The GM2 that will be used for the shaking table will be an accelerogram scaled to match the spectrum for a specific period range (i.e. 0.05-0.3s) or scaled to match the entire area of the spectrum? Will it be a recorded or an artificial ground motion?

    The GM2 response spectrum should be reasonably close to the ASCE specified spectrum in some period range (undisclosed), while it typically shows lower response intensity in the other period ranges. Remember, the ASCE specified response spectrum is an average one for a large number of ground motions. Therefore spectrum for a specific GM can only be qualitatively checked against the code specified spectrum.

  • Where can i find the response spectra of the GMs that were used in the last edition of SDC - San Francisco 2023? (mentioned in the Design Guide)

    The response spectrum are generally not disclosed from the SLC. However if you have the ground motion data, you can use some software or online tool to generate the response spectrum for your reference.

  • We created (scaled spectra:all record TotD100 graph) but when we write the values to table on NHR3, we find these headings different from the value found in the selection guide report. 1) Recommended Scale Factor 2) Mean Squared Error. Is it a problem?

    Headings are different: ground motions guide is a guide. Use engineering judgment and be able to justify your reasoning.

2024 Official Rules: Dampers

  • We were wondering if we submit the Damper proposal before the deadline and it is not approved could we submit another one before the deadline?

    Resubmissions are allowed!

  • 1) Do we need to send just one damper proposal, or can we send a backup proposal for a different damper in case our proposal isn't accepted? 2) Are dampers included in the structure weight? 3) Is there any material that is prohibited to be used in damper design?

    We will post the requirements for the damping proposals soon. Meanwhile, here are the answers to your questions:
    1) Sure, just inform us which one is which one so that we just review the backup proposal in case the first one is not accepted.
    2) For scoring purposes, the Structural Model Weight, is equal to the weight of the structural model including damping devices but ignoring the weight of the floor dead loads, roof dead load, base plate, and roof plate (Section 4.4).
    3) Any material is allowed to be used in a damping device.

  • How different do the dampers have to be from year to year?

    Try to aim for something as conceptually different as possible from prior years. For example, if previously you used a visco elastic damper design for a 2” damper, and this year you want to use the exact same damper mechanism but just 3” long, this would not be considered distinct enough from years before. Please make sure to clarify and justify the differences between your prior design to the current design in your damping proposal. The damper is accessed as part of the Innovation Award, so it must be unique year to year.

  • Is the weight of a damper used to calculate the construction cost?

    For scoring purposes, the Structural Model Weight, 𝑊𝑠, is equal to the weight of the structural model including damping devices but does not include the weight of the floor dead loads, roof dead load, base plate, or roof plate. (Section 4.4)
    The weight of the base plate and roof plate will be subtracted from the weight of your structure if a team brings an unattached replica of them to be weighed separately during the week of competition.

  • In the actual constructed model, do we have to stick to the location of dampers that we have provided in the proposal, or can we modify it based on further analysis?

    Please send us an updated proposal reflecting these changes. Your damper(s) location(s) should be consistent with the updated proposal. However, the SLC reserves the rights to make adjustments to the damping bonus points based on the received updated proposals.

  • My team wanted to know about the rules regarding dampers falling outside of the building zones of the tower. Our damper connections hook around the framing beams and columns, and we were planning to have dampers in the outermost bays of our tower. This means that the damper-to-tower connections (only the damper portions, not any structural balsa wood) fall just slightly outside of the allowable building space. Is this acceptable, or would we have to redesign our damper connections in these locations?

    Any elements in the structural model should be within bounds, subject to penalties.


Many thanks to generous sponsors of SDC!




Top 9 Proposals (in alphabetical order)
    California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
    Cornell University
    Istanbul Technical University
    Karadeniz Technical University
    Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
    The University of British Columbia
    University at Buffalo
    University of California, Los Angeles
    University of Southern California


Full Results

The results for the 2024 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: Cornell University

2nd Place: Technical University of Cluj-Napoca

3rd Place: The University of Victoria


Charles Richter Award for Spirit of the Competition: Pontifica Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra

Egor Popov Award for Structural Innovation: Izmir Katip Celebi University

T-Shirt Design: The University of Texas at Austin (Honorable mentions: University of California San Diego and Altinbas University)


Best Seismic Performance: University of California Davis

Best Communication Skills Award: Cornell University

Best Architecture Award: Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest


Most Improved Team: Istanbul Technical University

Rookie of the SDC Award: Karadeniz Technical University

Cornell and Krawinkler Award for Excellence in PBEE: University of California Los Angeles


Full Scores


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