Natural Disasters - Moving Toward Improved Resilience

Single Abstract

343114 - The Structural Engineer's Role in Designing for Flood

Friday, April 20
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: 201A

Flooding is the most costly natural hazard to our built environment each year, and climate change, sea level rise, and more intense precipitation are beginning to cause more frequent and more severe flooding of buildings, transportation networks, and other infrastructure. In addition, some new structures are designed for future sea levels that are forecast to occur during the useful life of the building. What is the structural engineer’s role in designing for flood? Most structural engineers are familiar with flood loads in ASCE 7, but many engineers are not aware of the requirements in ASCE 24. ASCE 24 includes requirements for structural, geotechnical, civil, architectural, and mechanical/electrical/plumbing disciplines, but model building codes primarily refer to the ASCE 24 flood design requirements through structural sections of the code. Does this mean that the structural engineer is responsible for leading and coordinating the flood design approach for a project (even when the architect is the lead designer)?

This presentation will provide a brief overview of flood design requirements for all disciplines and describe how model building codes, ASCE 7, and ASCE 24 invoke these requirements. The presentation will illustrate the multidisciplinary nature of flood design and demonstrate the need for one design profession to define and coordinate the design approach. For example, if the project will use a dry floodprooding approach, walls and slabs must be designed for water pressures, a sump pump must be provided, sewer lines must have backflow preventers, and an emergency egress must be provided above the flood elevation. One design professional must take the lead to coordinate the work of other designers and ensure the project uses a consistent and complete design approach. The presentation will discuss standard practices for designers from different disciplines that fulfill (or overlook) flooding requirements. Case studies of design omissions or lacking coordination between disciplines will be reviewed. Attendees will gain a basic understanding of requirements for flood design, appreciate the multidisciplinary nature of flood design, learn about coordination points between designers from different disciplines, and learn about common pitfalls.

Casey Stevenson

Senior Project Manager
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger



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Matthew Gilbertson

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger



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Aaron Lewis

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

co-author of ASCE Press Guide to Rain Loads in ASCE 7


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343114 - The Structural Engineer's Role in Designing for Flood

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