Joe Mugford and Cathy Huang represented GMS at the 16th US-Japan-New Zealand Workshop on the Improvement of Structural Engineering and Resiliency, which took place in Nara, Japan on June 27-29 2016. At the conference, GMS presented findings from the post-disaster reconnaissance of the recent Kaohsiung/Meinong earthquake in Taiwan. This work was a collaborative effort between Ramon Gilsanz, Cathy Huang, Jessica Mandrick, and Joe Mugford (GMS / New York), Shyh-Jiann Hwan and Tsung-Chih Chiou (NCREE / Taiwan), and Mehmet Çelebi (USGS / California). Taiwan’s National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering (NCREE) links researchers and practicing professionals to build interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise using a variety of computational and experimental facilities in earthquake-related fields. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) focuses on the science of the natural hazards that threaten lives and livelihoods, the water, energy, minerals, and other natural resources we rely on, the health of our ecosystems and environment, and the impacts of climate and land-use change.


The Meinong Earthquake which occurred on February 6, 2016 affected several categories of building stock for which risk identification programs have been developed by NCREE.

Mixed-use three to five story structures are a typical building type in the city of Tainan. The ground floor is an open front commercial or manufacturing space, which is laterally a soft story. The upper floors are residential and extend over a covered sidewalk, with column supports at the front of the building. NCREE has an established “street house” program which provides criteria for homeowners to evaluate and retrofit these structures. This program, as well as damage and structural deficiencies related to this type of structure, were discussed. Additionally, Taiwan’s evaluation and retrofit program for school buildings, which identifies school buildings with seismic deficiencies and determines whether or not a retrofit is warranted, was discussed.

Sponsored by the Applied Technology Council (ATC), the Japan Structural Consultants Association (JSCA), the New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence (QuakeCoRE), and the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, this Workshop discussed and developed policy recommendations for improved community resilience based on current state-of-practice, innovative engineering solutions, and emerging resilience technologies. A special focus of the Workshop was on post-earthquake repair and assessment of residual capacity in earthquake-damaged buildings.

This Workshop was the 16th in a series that began in 1984 and has been repeated every two or three years. Previous workshops have been held in California (San Diego and San Francisco), Hawaii (Honolulu, Kauai, Kona, Kohala Coast, and Maui), Japan (Kobe and Tokyo), and Victoria, British Columbia. Proceedings will be published by ATC in the near future. The next workshop is being planned to take place in New Zealand in November 2018