Infrastructural Renewal Project Brief

Since 2001, B.C.’s provincial government has committed more than $2 billion to seismically upgrade or replace 213 high-risk schools. In January 2011, the Archdiocese of Vancouver determined that it needed to examine its buildings’ structural integrity as well as the preparedness of personnel and students for a large seismic event.

Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller announced in 2011 that all school and church properties would be structurally assessed to determine their preparedness to withstand a major earthquake. He said the Archdiocese was committed to ensuring the 450,000 Catholics who work, worship and study in archdiocesan buildings were safe in the event of a major earthquake.

A Seismic Risk Assessment and Retrofit Considerations Study of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver (RCAV) Buildings was carried out by Ausenco Canada Inc. The seismic assessments of buildings began in July 2012 and were completed by March 2013. The assessments involved a review of the available drawings for each building (provided by RCAV), a site review of the building to confirm the information, and a number of engineering calculations for selected buildings. No material testing was carried out.

The Archdiocese, although not eligible for BC Ministry of Education funding on this initiative, was able to directly benefit from the extensive work done by the Ministry in developing its Seismic Retrofit Guidelines 1st Edition (SRG1). The SRG1 guidelines are a performance-based tool that provides the framework to give relative ratings of seismic risk of buildings and seismic upgrades to different performance levels. SRG1 is the latest edition of the performance-based Seismic Retrofit Guidelines for BC Schools developed for the Ministry of Education jointly by the University of British Columbia (UBC) and APEGBC and was formally released in September of 2011.

The risk analysis methodology used in this program was consistent with three large-scale assessment programs: the 2009 Vancouver School Board Seismic Screening Program, the 2010 Ministry of Education High Risk Blocks Assessment Program and the 2011 BCIT Seismic Screening Program.

Definition of Block

For this project, a building is considered as one stand-alone facility which can be divided into several blocks. A block is defined as a structurally unique portion of the building. This structural uniqueness can stem from the use of different materials, construction dates, number of storeys and storey heights. The numbering system used in all the assessments is Parish # – RCAV Building # – Block.

The Report on “RCAV Seismic Structural Risk Rating by Block” can be downloaded here. PDF Icon

Definition of Life Safety (Performance Criteria)

Each assessed block was assigned a “seismic risk” of H1, H2, H3, M or L. Seismic Risk indicates the expected performance of the existing non-retrofitted structure during a major seismic event, and suggests the level of urgency in providing a seismic retrofit.

The definition and determination of the seismic risk is based on a probabilistic performance-based methodology.

Seismic Risk Ratings for “Life-Safety”

Seismic Risk Ratings for Life-Safety

On May 19th, Pentecost Sunday, Archbishop Miller released the Priorities and Goals that will motivate and guide the Archdiocese for the next three years. One of the Priorities is Stewarding God’s Gifts, which includes embarking on a large-scale process of planning for the future development of all our parish and school facilities.

By Nov. 30, 2015, every parish will complete planning for the infrastructure needs of its school and parish buildings and for any future development of their sites.


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