February 28, 2011 Seismic Engineering Reconnaissance Team Heads to New Zealand To Learn from the Devastation
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The team of specially trained structural engineers and seismic experts from San Francisco, Oakland , Los Angeles and Seattle will deploy next week.  The team expects to view much of the damage in its original state.  Findings from the excursion will be used to contribute to the improvement of construction methods and building codes in high seismic zones in the United States and around the world.

“We are eager to come back with a better understanding of how to make our buildings at home safer after seeing first-hand the damage resulting from the earthquake,” said Loring Wyllie, Degenkolb Senior Principal and team lead. “New Zealand has seismic building code regulations similar to the US West Coast, so the structural performance in Christ Church is very applicable to US practice.”

Accompanying Wyllie will be engineers Laurie Johnston, John Leuenberger, Cale Ash, Chris Mora and Lucie Fougner.  Each team members has been tapped for his or her experience in designing new structures, seismic strengthening of existing structures, seismic analysis and seismic evaluations. The majority of the research and surveying will take place in Christchurch, the city at the epicenter of the 6.3 magnitude quake.

To follow the live blogging of Degenkolb engineers from New Zealand complete with pictures of the damage, visit http://www.degenkolb.com/blog/.

The New Zealand team will follow in the footsteps of teams sent around the world for decades, most recently to Concepcion, Chile in March of 2010, Haiti in XXX,  L’Aquila, Italy in April 2009 and Padang, Indonesia in October 2009.   The fully in-house funded Degenkolb reconnaissance program is designed to test and improve engineering intuition and allow employees to learn from hands-on experience.

Established in 1940, Degenkolb Engineers is one of the nation’s leading structural engineering firms in the design and seismic strengthening of buildings and lifeline systems. Degenkolb offers comprehensive design, rehabilitation, and consulting services to architects, building owners, hospitals, educational institutions, corporations, government agencies, and utility districts.  The firm has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, Portland and Seattle.  Degenkolb routinely leverages firm-wide experience, calling on support from any of its six U.S. offices to ensure technical excellence on all projects.