Seismic Studies

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Earthquake / seismic engineering is critical to the success of infrastructure projects - from elementary schools to hydroelectric dams. Protecting infrastructure from the effects of earthquakes through seismically-aware initial design, and seismic retrofitting of older structures, is a key consideration in current structural engineering.

The seismic engineering group at Ausenco is at the forefront of applying and developing seismic solutions and performance based designs for a wide variety of infrastructure facilities (and marine and industrial facilities as well). Recognised both locally and internationally Ausenco is a strong proponent in the implementation of the most current technology in seismic regulations, the use of appropriate analyses to fully understand structural performance in an earthquake, and in moving industry thinking forward. We have firsthand understanding of structural and infrastructure performance in earthquakes from our post-earthquake reconnaissance missions in North America and abroad.

Ausenco Expert John Sherstobitoff is currently Chair of the Standing Committee on Earthquake Design (SCED) that sets the seismic provisions for the National Building Code of Canada, and Chair of a specific Working Group regarding seismic isolation and supplemental energy dissipation. Ausenco staff is also currently Chair of a Task Group within SCED addressing Performance Based Design and Resilience for the 2020 code. We have been intimately involved in the implementation of Earthquake Early Warning Systems and Strong Motion Instrumentation, as well as development of the BC Ministry of Education’s award winning Seismic Retrofit Guidelines.

With an established record of seismic assessment, evaluation, analysis, detailed design and construction-related services of the seismic retrofit of both simple and complex structures, the team brings decades of experience on over 275 projects. 

Pioneering projects and ‘firsts’ include:

  • First seismic isolation (base isolation) project of a building in Canada 
  • First use of viscous dampers for a seismic retrofit project in Canada 
  • Post-earthquake jacking and re-alignment of a severely damaged 18-storey building in Chile
  • Largest use, at the time, of Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) in a single facility and in a seismic upgrade in Canada
  • First "stand alone" seismic upgrade of a heritage school in BC, with zero modification to the heritage exterior
  • First seismic upgrade in Canada to use exterior ductile steel bracing


Our seismic experts offer the following services:

  • Seismic assessment (both of individual buildings, and inventories of buildings)
  • Seismic evaluation (including coordination of surveying and material testing)
  • Seismic analyses (including current performance based non-linear time history analyses)
  • Seismic upgrade/retrofit (conceptual, preliminary, detailed designs)
  • Construction related services (intermittent to full time resident)
  • Earthquake engineering for new structures (per current code and ‘outside of code’ using performance based approaches)
  • Intimate understanding of all aspects of the Ministry of Education and School District requirements for the study, reporting and detailed design for the retrofitting of BC schools

Specialities include design involving:

  • Seismic isolation (base isolation)
  • Supplemental energy dissipation (seismic dampers)
  • Fibre reinforced polymers (FRP)
  • Buckling Restrained Bracing (BRB)
  • Liquefiable sites (innovative structural solutions)
  • Seismic upgrades with minimal disturbance to operations
  • Advanced computer modelling and analyses
  • Provision of external peer review


Innovation in Design

  • Award of Merit, Engineering of the Post-earthquake Jacking and Re-alignment of the El Parque-Cuerpo 3 Building in Santiago, Chile. Consulting Engineers of British Columbia, 2011
  • Award of Excellence for engineering of the Adriatic LNG Terminal Storage Tank Bracing Project for terminale GNL Adriatico S.r.L. Consulting Engineers of British Columbia, 2010
  • Silver Medal Award, Vancouver Technical School Seismic Upgrade Phase 2. Category - construction projects in the $20M to $50M range. Vancouver Regional Construction Association, 2009
  • Award of Excellence, Greater Vancouver Sewerage & Drainage District – Seismic Assessment. Consulting Engineers of British Columbia. 2007
  • Award of Excellence, Seismic Upgrade of Royal Columbia Hospital Health Care Centre. Consulting Engineers of British Columbia, 2005
  • Award of Excellence, Little Mountain Reservoir Reconstruction and Seismic Upgrade. Consulting Engineers of British Columbia, 2004

For more information view one of our featured projects or contact one of our Experts.