Capital Planning & Space Management

Seismic Safety Policy Implementation Update

Section 1


The University of California has a long history of addressing earthquake safety, with a seismic safety policy in place since 1975. The policy was created to provide an enhanced level of earthquake safety for students, employees, and the public who occupy university facilities. All structures, including those at UCI, meet applicable California building codes in effect at the time of their construction or renovation. The UC system goes beyond these requirements by proactively retrofitting buildings for seismic improvement.

Over the years, UCI has invested millions of dollars in improving the safety of our buildings. By 2012, UCI had retrofitted and upgraded, or demolished 77 buildings on the campus and Medical Center as a seismic improvement effort.

In 2017, the University of California issued an updated policy on Seismic Safety, which recognized the latest advances in geotechnical engineering and seismology. This policy requires that all UC buildings be evaluated using stricter seismic standards than in the past. Buildings subsequently deemed to require seismic improvement must be either retrofitted, demolished or vacated by the end of 2030. The upgrades during the next decade will take UC structures beyond what is currently required by state and local building authorities.

Where is UCI with this process?

UCI is working with a team of consulting engineers to evaluate our campus buildings. The campus and medical center have 415 buildings, totaling over 9 million square feet that need to be evaluated. To date, 123 of these buildings, representing nearly half of the total building area, have been evaluated. Evaluations of the remaining buildings are in progress and will be completed by June 2020.

Using the recent UC seismic performance ratings developed, in collaboration with the state agencies, buildings are assigned a Roman numeral rating. A rating of III is generally a new building, while IV is acceptable, and V or VI triggers a more in-depth study to determine if a retrofit is required.

  • 23 buildings are rated III or IV and no additional work is required
  • 100 buildings will require further study, and some of those may require retrofit

You can view the complete list of buildings evaluated and their ratings here.

While these ratings may understandably generate concern, it is important to note that a building rating may be adjusted after an in-depth study or may require only minor changes to a portion of the building and does not automatically indicate a problem.

A general obligation bond measure will be placed on the March 2020 ballot, which if approved, would provide $15 billion in funding for modernization and construction of facilities for California’s public education system. The University of California’s $2 billion share of the bond would provide potential funding for seismic retrofit projects.

Next Steps

We will continue our efforts to evaluate the remaining campus buildings and submit the results to the University of California Office of the President to support a coordinated, systemwide effort to holistically prioritize and address the work, which can include retrofitting, replacing or vacating hundreds of buildings on the 10 UC campuses.

UCI will start prioritizing and planning its retrofitting work after the preliminary ratings are thoroughly evaluated and confirmed by engineers. Regular updates will be posted here throughout the process.


Below are some frequently asked questions. Click any question to expand the answer.

Only the buildings that have been evaluated to date are listed. If a building is not on the list, it has not been evaluated yet. All buildings will be evaluated by June 2020.

Click HERE to see the list of buildings that have been evaluated to date, and their rankings. UCI had 100 buildings evaluated at V or VI, which requires a second evaluation with deeper analysis. It is possible the analysis may reveal that some buildings receive a better rating and others may need some level of retrofitting.

  • Arts Annex Building
  • Humanities Hall
  • Social Science Lecture Hall
  • Student Health Center II

UCI has no buildings rated VII.

Some buildings contain multiple structures, that were evaluated separately. Please refer to the “Building CAAN” column, the CAAN numbers represent the 123 buildings.

UCI has 414 buildings remaining to be evaluated. The deadline for evaluating the remaining buildings is June 2020.

Retrofitting work will be prioritized when more is known about the total scope and cost of retrofitting needs.

  • North Campus buildings, parking structures, and all university owned childcare facilities on the campus are part of the seismic evaluation.
  • Leased buildings (not on campus property) occupied by university personnel are also included.
  • University Tower and Research Park both have space leased by the university and also will be reviewed under the scope of the project.
  • University Hills is not included in the seismic evaluations.

Yes - the UCI Medical Center in Orange is included.

UCI completed its most recent retrofit work in 2012.

From 2012 to the present, UCI has added 14 buildings to the campus (none to the Medical Center), which total 876,942 additional square feet.

UCI’s earliest buildings were constructed in the 1960s when the campus opened.

Yes, at the time they were constructed.

UCI has contracted with three engineering firms for the seismic evaluations:

  • Degenkolb Engineers
  • Eqcglobal
  • Thornton Tomasetti

In a previous phase Miyamoto International was also used.

It’s impossible to know at this stage what the final cost will be by 2030.

The UC system’s Capital Financial Plan through 2028 already includes more than $2 billion in seismic-related projects.

The University of California is exploring sources of funding to help with building retrofits. A General Obligation (GO) Bond issue, if approved by California voters in March 2020, would provide some funds for seismic retrofit projects.

Additionally, there are programs UCI can apply for state funding.

Questions? Email