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Ten years ago, we critically examined a number of the fundamental principles on
which the seismic design of structures is based. It was suggested that the current
emphasis on strength-based seismic design, based on elastic structural characteristics,
modified by ductility capacity or behaviour factors leads designers in directions that are
not always rational. The “holy grail” of maximized energy absorption was shown to be
at least a mixed blessing. It was concluded that in many cases current practices,
particularly as entrenched in design codes, were based on unrealistic concepts and
approximations – which we termed, with some hyperbole, myths and fallacies.
The more relevant points made in the original paper are briefly summarized in this
chapter. In subsequent chapters the arguments are revisited and re-examined in the light
of ten years research and design development to determine what, if any, progress has
occurred in developing more rational design approaches.
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