SEAOC Convention: Design for Improved Performance of Buckling-Restrained Braced Frames

Forell | Elsesser Structural Engineers, Mason Walters and Russell Berkowitz, presented at the Convention of the Structural Engineers of California (SEAOC)

In this article, Mason and Russell discuss the rigid, field-welded beam/column/gusset connection of a Buckling Restrained Braced Frame (BRBF), and its undesirable seismic behavior, which motivated Forell | Elsesser to explore an alternate connection configuration that significantly reduces the vulnerability of the connection assembly to seismic drift-induced damage, while reducing the time consuming and thus expensive field welding of beam and gusset connections.  The alternative connection is far superior to the more traditional welded connection, both on a first-cost basis, as well as a life-cycle cost basis by reducing the cost of earthquake damage repair over the life of the structure.

John O’Hagan

As an Engineer, John thrives in integrating his analytic mindset with a keen interest in the manner with which people interact with their environment. This is exemplified through a range of previous work experiences across multiple civil engineering fields and an interdisciplinary design project working on short term housing solutions with the City of San Jose and Habitat for Humanity as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University.  As a graduate student at Stanford University, John turned his attention to improving his structural engineering knowledge base, particularly focusing on earthquake resistant design and sustainably built structures.  His studies into sustainable materials and Life Cycle Assessment practices allow him to better assess the impact of structural engineering and construction practices on people and the environment.

When not working, John is an avid endurance athlete, having run on Santa Clara University’s cross country and track team.  When not running, he can be found outside biking, hiking, and enjoying a good game of bocce ball in the park. He also enjoys music and cooking.

Professional Associations

  • Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC),