Seismic Safety

UC Davis has been proactive in completing seismic retrofit work over the past 25 years.

Seismic Evaluation

Following industry standard methods, buildings are evaluated using either a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Form 154 or American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Tier 1 study and assigned a Roman numeral rating. A rating of III is generally a new building, while IV is acceptable and V or VI may require further study or retrofit work.

Seismic evaluations range in cost and complexity. Average cost per building for an initial study is $4500. The cost of further evaluations ranges from $5000 to $200,000 per building.

Evaluation Progress

Excluding UC Davis Health and leased buildings, UC Davis has 1,145 buildings on the central campus and satellite sites (Bodega Bay, Tahoe, Castle Lake, etc.) with approximately 13.5 million square feet of space. 128 of these buildings were recently demolished or are scheduled for demolition over the next 10 years.  

  • Seismic evaluations have been completed on 791 buildings (7.1 million square feet or 53% of the total 13.5 million).
    • 212 buildings are seismically-acceptable
    • 462 buildings are exempt. These are small, one-story structures of very low risk.
    • 8 buildings have seismic retrofit projects in design & construction: Walker Hall, Emerson, Webster, Cruess (west), Chemistry, Chemistry Annex, Silo North, Nelson and PSE Library.
    • 3 buildings have been vacated. These are three barns on west campus.
    • 117 buildings will require further study or retrofitting.
  • There are 218 buildings remaining for evaluation (approximately 5M square feet.)
    • 82 buildings are on campus, most of which are one-story and 20,000 square feet.
    • 81 buildings, representing $3.7M square feet were built in the last 18 years and are expected to be seismically-acceptable.
    • 55 buildings are at satellite locations.
  • All university-owned housing units have seismically-acceptable ratings.
  • Completed projects include: Sproul, Hart, North and South Halls, Memorial Union, Kerr, Academic Surge, Bainer, John Muir Institute, Heitman Learning Center, Rock Hall, Briggs, Bainer, Robbins, Telecommunications, Vet Med 2, Segundo Housing complex, Segundo Dining Commons, Silo South, Tercero 3 and 4 Housing, Tercero Community/Dining, and Olson Hall.
  • The following 14 buildings have a designation of VI (require further study or retrofit work): Everson, Fire and Police, Freeborn, Haring, Hickey Gym, Jungerman, Mann Lab, Primate Center Administration, Primate Center Laboratory, Primate Center Animal B, Social Sciences and Humanities, Sprocket, Voorhies, Young

Related Policy

  • University of California’s first seismic safety policy was issued in January 1975.
    • The current policy is dated May 2017. The purpose of the policy is to provide an acceptable level of earthquake safety for students, employees, and the public who occupy university facilities located in California. Updates are being considered as UC goes through a renewed program effort.
    • In June 2018, UC required all University facilities to have current seismic ratings with buildings requiring retrofit work completed or unoccupied by December 31, 2030. Buildings were divided into multiple groups to best tackle this large amount of evaluation work, with all ratings due by July 2020.   
    • For leased facilities, prior to entering into a new lease or renewing an existing lease, an acceptable seismic rating is required or a retrofit completed within 2 years under certain conditions.
  • Although the building code is updated and issued every 3 years, buildings are built pursuant to the code for the year of their design. A major renovation may trigger the need for seismic corrections.