Coffman Engineers

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Seismic engineering

Seismic Engineering

Deep knowledge. Wide experience. Balanced approach.

With offices in high-risk earthquake zones like California, Hawaii, Alaska, and Guam, Coffman strives to be on the forefront of seismic education and technology. Our seismic engineering and design services span the firm’s 37+ year history and our projects range from retrofitting single-story wood framed buildings to the design of new multi-story hospitals and towers.

Innovative seismic methods cost less

The Coffman team reduces overall construction costs of seismic engineering by using sophisticated analysis techniques and innovative retrofit methods to improve seismic performance. Our use of supplemental damping (viscous dampers) and Buckling Restrained Brace Frames (BRBF) in numerous retrofit projects have greatly enhanced seismic performance at a lower cost. We commit to working with clients and owners to find a seismic performance goal that works with their risk tolerance and budget.

Seismic capabilities

Our structural engineers are well versed in the use of appropriate analysis and design software ranging from simple single element design programs to complex and sophisticated non-linear three-dimensional analysis and design of major structures under static and dynamic loading. Modern seismic rehabilitation guidelines have evolved, and seismic performance levels are now referred to by terms such as Operational, Immediate Occupancy, Life-Safety, and Collapse Prevention. We utilize nationally recognized seismic rehabilitation standards from SEAOC, FEMA, ATC, and ASCE. Our capabilities include:

  • Performance Based Seismic Design (PBSD) of structures (new and retrofit)
  • Application of technologies like seismic (base) isolation, damping, fiber-reinforced polymers, etc.
  • Evaluation of existing seismic risk
  • Assessment of probable loss scenarios
  • Design of seismic hazard mitigation schemes
  • Development of seismic performance criteria
  • Peer and plan review of earthquake resistant designs
  • Non-Linear Dynamic Analysis
  • Three-Dimensional Computer Modeling
  • Application of FEMA Design Guidelines


Paul Van Benschoten, S.E.
Doug Silver, S.E.
Jonathan D. Wirthlin, S.E.


Los Angeles Seismic Retrofit Ordinance

On October 9th, 2015, the City of Los Angeles passed a mandatory ordinance (#183893) requiring the seismic retrofit of approximately 13,000 wood-framed soft-story buildings. Our Los Angeles office has prepared a helpful Q&A Guide on what you need to know.

Click here to get the guide!

Seismic engineer