2005 Alfred E. Alquist Certificate Winner:
University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley is a worldwide leader among universities in research, education, and public service. The central campus houses over 40,000 students, faculty, and staff in more than 100 academic departments and organized research units. The central campus has 115 buildings on 177 acres with about 8 million square feet of classrooms, libraries, offices, research laboratories, and other specialized facilities.  The campus also sits astride the Hayward fault. In 1870, the university’s first building, South Hall, was designed to include iron columns and rods in the brickwork for seismic reinforcement. The university continues to demonstrate a remarkable commitment to seismic safety.

In the 1970s, the UC Regents adopted a Policy on Seismic Safety to guide campuses in assessing the structural safety of buildings. The Berkeley campus surveyed building conditions and began a program of seismic improvements for masonry buildings, residence halls, libraries, and other high occupancy buildings.

Twenty years and $250 million dollars later, in the mid-1990s, the campus surveyed all of its buildings again, using new criteria. The completion of this review provided the campus with up-to-date and comprehensive analysis of building conditions, and re-focused the campus commitment to correcting seismic deficiencies in campus facilities. In order to protect lives and provide safety for students, faculty and staff, the campus developed the Seismic Action Plan for Facilities Enhancement and Renewal (SAFER). With the SAFER program, Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl committed $20 million dollars per year to fund seismic improvements and he supported comprehensive risk management planning through the Disaster Resistant Universities (DRU) Initiative. The SAFER program and the risk management planning which grew out of the DRU Initiative has increased the safety of the campus community and its capacity to sustain operations in the event of a major earthquake.

When the SAFER program was started, in October 1997, nine buildings with 1,300,000 square feet were already under repair. In the eight years since then the University of California , Berkeley campus has completed the retrofit of seven major buildings, representing over 2,000,000 square feet. Several more buildings, with about 500,000 square feet, are in construction. The UC Berkeley retrofit program is the largest undertaking of its kind in the world.  In addition, the university has made great progress in nonstructural hazard mitigation and business resumption planning, unique among large research universities.

In awarding the Alquist Certificate for 2005, we join others in recognizing the university’s SAFER and Disaster-Resistant University programs, and its leadership in demonstrating state-of-the-art risk management to universities across the nation.  The California Earthquake Safety Foundation particularly recognizes Chancellor Emeritus Robert Berdahl for creating and supporting the SAFER Program, and the dedication of many administrators, faculty members, and professional staff to advancing the goals of the program.