Monday, March 9, 2015

Seismic Mitigation Program Progress Report or as the Vancouver Sun calls it: Seismic upgrading for schools delayed

It's one thing to open your morning newspaper to be told how British Columbian Schools are still at risk from earthquakes, but it's quite another when the Press fails to adequately reassure parents that the document from which the journalist derived their (possessive) information is the BC Government.  Not to say that source is not trustworthy, but .... why not give the readers the hyperlink to the BC Government Source?   It's our tax dollars that are paying for the documents that they so often quote from, so why not share the information?

From our research last week:

 British Columbia. Ministry of Education
Seismic Mitigation Program Progress Report

 Most vulnerable structure; at highest risk of widespread damage or structural failure; not reparable after event) - Vancouver Sun - Tracy Sherlock

It's a simple rating 1, 2, 3 where No. 1 is the MOST in NEED but in an 'event' where children and adults would have to dive for the underbelly of their desks for safety, the chances of survival of the fittest need not apply.  All is lost.

Soon after the BC Liberal Party elected their new Leader the first order to shore up the forthcoming 2013 election chances was to spend money on Playground school equipment, which was important for the well being of Education Minister George Abbott and Premier Christy Clark who implemented that program, it wasn't just a photo op.......
DELTA – Premier Christy Clark announced today $8 million for 44 new playgrounds and playground upgrades for schools across British Columbia to help provide safe play spaces for kids to be happy and healthy.
“Learning continues outside the classroom and playgrounds are a venue where kids come together and learn from each other through play,” said Premier Clark. “Playgrounds are a reminder to all of us that providing access to safe spaces helps make kids happier, healthier and ready to learn.” September 2, 2011 snip

44 Elementary schools out of 1019 province wide plus another 37 triple combo Elementary / Secondary / High Schools

Could there a correlation made that the BC Government used $50,000 per playground to buy votes and in doing so they staved off the need to spend the big money on seismic upgrades for those very same school buildings?
Stephen Hume: Seismic Upgrades Not a Priority for Politicians (BC Liberal MLAs)
Sort of makes you want to move our children OUT of the public school system.   Was that the game plan from Day 1 by Education Minister Christine Joanne Clark?  Privatization and keep the school taxes for General Revenue?

FootNote: In 2004 Christy Clark left for parts unknown and Tom Christensen took over as Minister of Education.

What is important is that it was one or the other that brought in Seismic Upgrades for School with an initiated value for ... service ....  $1.5 billion program.

Risk Management Plan for the School Seismic Mitigation Program in the Province of British Columbia, Canada W.D. Liam Finn and A. Dexter

February 2012

In 2004, the British Columbia Ministry of Education initiated a $1.5 billion seismic mitigation program to make all public elementary and secondary school buildings safe. This seismic safety program is being implemented by the BC Ministry of Education (MED) in collaboration with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC). APEGBC has been contracted by MED to develop a set of state-of-the-art performance-based technical guidelines for structural engineers to use in the seismic risk assessment and retrofit design of low-rise school buildings. In undertaking this technical development program, APEGBC contracted the University of British Columbia (UBC) to draft the performance-based technical guidelines based on an extensive applied research program (APEGBC, 2006). Each draft of these technical guidelines has been peer-reviewed by a BC peer review committee of experienced local consulting engineers and by an external peer review committee comprised of prominent California consulting engineers and researchers. Research on innovative retrofit methods is still being conducted and technical guidelines are issued to keep current with research developments.

The three overall objectives of the guidelines are enhanced life safety, cost effective retrofits and user-friendly technical guidelines. The life safety philosophy of these guidelines is enhanced life safety through minimizing the probability of structural collapse by the use of rational performance-based earthquake engineering (PBEE) methods for damage estimation. The performance criterion of life safety is defined by acceptable drift ratios specified for each generic school building type. The performance standard is that the risk to life safety should not be more than 2% in 50 years

The Auditor General of British Columbia reviewed the whole project and commended MED for the high standard of their approach to handling the technical risks associated with the project. However he felt that a risk management plan was essential for the implementation of the project. In response to this advice MED commissioned the authors to develop such a plan. etc.

The high risk buildings have priority for retrofit according to their estimated risk to life safety and are retrofitted to reduce risk to 2% in 50 years, the Low Risk category. The MED is concerned at the slow pace of the retrofit program. There are many reasons for this. For example, Vancouver has a large number of schools at high risk, nearly half the total but has been able to accommodate at best a few retrofit projects at a time. Vancouver also has a large number of heritage schools which take a long time to deal with for political and technical reasons. Because of its concern for life safety in the schools, MED has been examining options for achieving a faster rate of high risk reduction.

The most effective option appears to be a phased implementation program which would see the risk first reduced on a global basis to Medium for all the high risk schools. The medium risk schools would then be retrofitted during the regular capital projects cycle. This option has been recommended independently to MED by the University of British Columbia Research Group and by Craig Comartin, California seismic consultant, in his program assessment report.

It is clear that the mitigation program is not a static process but a dynamic approach to a very difficult challenge. This risk management plan has been developed with the dynamic aspects of the mitigation in mind and formally recognizes that the program management staff should be alert to opportunities for improving schedules and costs.

Playground $50,000 paid from Carbon Offset Credits

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