N. CA Established
PEER World Cloud
PEER World Cloud
Source: PEER
Significance to Structural Engineering History in Northern California

The Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center is a multi-institutional research and education center whose mission is to “develop, validate and disseminate performance-based engineering technologies for buildings and infrastructure networks, with the goal of achieving economic and community resilience.” Research projects aim to identify and reduce risks to life safety and to the economy by promoting collaboration among a variety of disciplines, including earthquake-related geohazard and inundation assessment, geotechnical and structural engineering, transportation systems, lifelines and networks, economics, risk management and public policy.  PEER has fostered the development of substantive, meaningful, and broadly accepted methods and innovations for the earthquake resistant design and assessment of buildings and other structures, resulting in significant impacts on public safety and property loss reduction.  Among its many innovative activities, the following PEER initiatives have been especially impactful:

  • Performance-based Earthquake Engineering (PBEE), Framework and Methodology links measures, quantification of engineering demand parameters and damage, and the quantification of performance, using metrics that are meaningful to stakeholders.  The performance-based methodology and framework were implemented in an engineering software package to quantify capital loss projections as a function of the shaking intensity.  The software also enabled the integration of losses-across-hazard curves, thereby enabling the expression of losses as intensity-based, scenario-based, and time-based, and can be used to explore the effects and consequences of design decisions on expected losses.  The PBEE methodology and software have been since adopted by FEMA P-58: Seismic Performance Assessment of Buildings.
  • Software and Applications: Open System for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (OpenSees) is open-sourced software widely used by geotechnical and structural engineers to model and analyze structures and systems.  OpenFresco is open-sourced software used for hybrid analysis and simulation.  Seismic Performance Observatory (SPO) is a database of earthquake-related data and images.
  • Next Generation Attenuation Project:  The world’s largest uniformly processed earthquake ground motion database for shallow crustal earthquakes and a set of ground motion attenuation models for applications in seismic analysis, design, evaluation, and loss estimating
  • Research on Older Concrete Buildings identified behavior and vulnerabilities of pre-1980 concrete structures. Assessment recommendations were subsequently adopted by ASCE 41: Seismic Evaluation and Retrofit of Existing Buildings.  PEER’s simulation tools were subsequently used in ATC-78: Identification and Mitigation of Nonductile Concrete Buildings to develop more rapid assessment and screening tools for older concrete buildings.
  • Tall Buildings Initiative: Guidelines that provide a consistency for buildings that are not covered by the provisions of the building code.  The document was published in 2010 and updated in 2017.
  • NISEE/PEER Library: The National Information Service for Earthquake Engineering (NISEE)/PEER Library is an affiliated library of UC Berkeley, specializing in structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, engineering dynamics, engineering seismology, and earthquake public policy. The Earthquake Engineering Online Archive is a database of significant, publicly-funded research and development literature, photographs, data, and software in earthquake, structural, and geotechnical engineering. It includes full text for EERC, SEMM, and PEER reports published at UC Berkeley, the NISEE software library, and images from EQIIS.
Through collaboration with practicing professionals in private industry, academia, and government agencies, PEER provides the community with substantial opportunities for technology transfer.  Its user-driven approach enables practicing professionals and policy-makers to manage economic and societal risks due to seismic events and enhances prioritization for the rehabilitation of facilities, infrastructure, and lifeline networks.
PEER is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.