OSHPD Announces a New Seismic Performance Category: SPC-4D

What is SPC-4D? It is a new performance category that will allow hospitals to explore the possibilities of upgrading some current SPC-1 and SPC-2 buildings to a new performance level that is not as rigorous as the current requirement to upgrade to SPC-5. Under SPC-4D, buildings undergoing a retrofit to this level can continue functioning indefinitely (beyond 2030). KPFF is already working with some hospitals to find buildings that could be good candidates for SPC-4D upgrades.


Aside from being a possible solution to SB1953 compliance issues, SPC-4D may be a way to unlocking an acute care center’s full existing potential. SPC-4D could provide highly environmentally and economically sustainable solutions for medical centers. Constructing an OSHPD regulated building is a massive undertaking requiring millions of dollars and many years of planning and production. In certain cases, hospitals would benefit greatly from saving existing buildings and retrofitting existing inventory rather than demolishing functional buildings in favor of new construction.


Performance category background

On Feb 10, 2015, OSHPD announced that a new structural performance category, SPC-4D, will be added to the 2016 California Administrative Code. The expected seismic performance of buildings in this category would be similar to SPC3 and SPC4 categories. Non-Conforming buildings that are currently categorized as SPC1 or SPC2 could be upgraded to this new SPC-4D category so they can provide acute care services beyond 2030. Until now, non-conforming buildings (pre-1973) could have been upgraded only to SPC2 or SPC5 seismic performance levels, nothing in between.

Two criteria could be used to upgrade the non-conforming structures to SPC-4D levels. The first is a prescriptive approach by which it has to be demonstrated that the subject building meets all structural requirements of the “1980 CBC”, which is a name used by OSHPD to refer to a group of standards and regulations described in the public presentation on Feb 10, 2015. The second is a performance based approach, by which it has to be demonstrated that the seismic performance of the subject structure meets or exceeds the “damage control” level as determined per ASCE 41-13.


Current and future SPC-4D partners

KPFF is looking into how we can help our clients retain their existing quality buildings for as long as possible. Our team has already begun analysis on several medical campuses to explore the possibility of bringing non-conforming buildings up to code using the new SPC-4D approach, and we anticipate having the initial results of these feasibility studies within the next few weeks.  We are very excited to be part of this effort, and anticipate partnering with many more hospital owners in the near future to help them create new seismic compliance opportunities for their campuses.

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