California Special Seismic Principles Exam Review Books
Practice Exams for the California Special Civil Engineer Examination
California Special Exams
The State of California requires two additional exams. Besides the NCEES morning and afternoon exams, the Sunshine State also requires examinees to pass the Special Civil Seismic Principles exam and the Special Civil Engineering Surveying exam.
California Seismic Principles Exam
The photo above shows a structural failure. This occurred in 1971. The San Fernando earthquake caused the collapse you see above. What do you think is the cause? Do you think there is a soft story (vertical irregularity 1a) or perhaps an extreme soft story (vertical irregularity 1b) here?
In the fore, we see the last column line is completely stripped of concrete. But, the vertical steel remains. By the way it is bent, we see it is a fixed-fixed construction. Looking at other columns, we see the concrete is crushed at top of column and bottom.
Review some images of seismic failures. Challenge yourself. Ask, "Why did this building fail? In the ATC books, there are images of failure types. Be sure to review those. I recall that on my California Seismic Principles Exam, there were two questions that required an analysis of cracking; what type of force caused this damage?
Of course, the seismic principles exam will test more than your qualitative knowledge. You will need to quantify and analyze structural design.
Which California State-Specific Special Exam will be Tougher, in your Opinion?
Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and other Structures ASCE 7-10
The American Society of Civil Engineers develops the procedures equations, coefficients, and tables used to calculate the theoretical approximation of forces. Engineers design buildings and structures according to forces derived using these methods.
The ASCE 7 (2010 publication date) has thirteen chapters covering seismic design:
11. Seismic Design Criteria
12. Seismic Design Requirements for Building Structures
13. Seismic Design Requirements for Nonstructural Components
14. Material Specific Seismic Design and Detailing Requirements
15. Seismic Design Requirements for Nonbuilding Structures
16. Seismic Response History Procedures
17. Seismic Design Requirements for Seismically Isolated Structures
18. Seismic Design Requirements for Structures with Damping System
19. Soil-Structure Interaction for Seismic Design
20. Site Classification Procedure for Seismic Design
21. Site Specific Ground Motion Procedures for Seismic Design
22. Seismic Ground Motion Long-Period Transition and Risk Coefficient Maps
23. Seismic Design Reference Documents
Seismic Principles Practice Exams
The Seismic Principles Practice Exams for the California Special Civil Engineer Exam by Majid Baradar is a curious book. More than a few reviewers complain about the lack of content. They say it did not help them during their exam.
Others say there were many errors in the book. One reviewer said the difficulty in struggling through trying to understand the content was frustrating.
But, there are many 5-star reviews. Most of them are not "verified purchase" reviews, however. They may be students of classes which used the book. But, before you buy, you should be aware that it is possible to buy a 5-star Amazon review. And, Amazon is not very aggressive about policing the reviews. They have taken action in the past. But, this activity continues today.
There are better seismic principles exam review books. Consider other titles before this one.
Name the type of vertical irregularity. The 3rd floor of a 5 story building has only 50% of the stiffness of the other floors.
Guaranteed, you need to know how to recognize the vertical and horizontal structural irregularities. These are found in ASCE 7-10. Horizontal Structural Irregularities is Table 12.3-1. Vertical Structural Irregularities is Table 12.3-2. These are found on pages 82 and 83 of ASCE7-10.
Northridge Earthquake, 1994
Dynamic Seismic Analysis
Dynamic Seismic Analysis
When is dynamic seismic analysis required? The adjacent video covers this question.
- First, when in seismic zones A to C, dynamic is never required.
- Equivalent Lateral Force (ELF) procedure is always permitted in zones A-C.
- Even in D, E, and F, there are two situations in which dynamic analysis is never required:
- a.) Risk Category I or II; Miscellaneous or Standard Occupancy; and maximum two stories tall.
- b.) Light-frame construction (wooden or metal studs with sheathing.)
- If ≤ 160' tall, and horizontal irregularity type Ia or 1b exists, then dynamic analysis required. If vertical irregularity types 1a, 1b, 2 or 3, then dynamic analysis is required.
- If > 160 feet tall; no structural irregularities; and T ≤ 3.5 Ts, then ELF is permitted.
Professor Explains Seismic Load Path Elements
- Best Seismic Book for the California PE Exam
Prepare using the best seismic exam books. We review the best seismic books for the California PE exam.
- California Subdivision Map Act
(For the surveying exam.) Link takes you to the state code. Use the arrows to advance to next section. This one takes a little work to track down. So, I thought I would make it easier for you all.
- Special Civil Engineering Examinations Reference List - Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surve
See the full list of reference books NCEES used to create the seismic principles exam.
- Examination Reference Materials - Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists
On the destination page, download two pdfs: Special Civil Engineering Surveying Test Plan & Special Civil Seismic Principles Test Plan
Answer to Vertical Irregularity Quiz Question
This is type 1b. See page 83 of ASCE 7-10.