HUD-Compliant Seismic Assessments: The Basics
One part of the HUD loan application and approval process is a HUD seismic assessment. This is needed if your HUD 221(d)(4) project is located in seismic zones 3 or 4 (based on 1997 UBC seismic zone maps). In general, these include all of California, large amounts of Alaska and Hawaii, some of Oregon, Washington, and Nevada, and a small amount of Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Arkansas. Just like an appraisal, environmental assessment, or market study, a seismic assessment is a third-party report that needs to be completed by a qualified contractor.
HUD Seismic Assessments Must Be In Compliance With ASCE 31
If your development project is located in seismic zones 3 or 4, you will most likely need to order a HUD seismic assessment in compliance with ASCE 31, a set of standardized building safety guidelines from the American Society of Civil Engineers. This study, which must also be in compliance with HUD MAP guide requirements, will require a high degree of technical and engineering expertise. Therefore, developers should only hire highly experienced, licensed civil or structural engineers who are familiar with seismic analysis.
Different Elements of HUD Seismic Assessments
There are three different tiers, or stages of a HUD seismic assessment. Depending on your project, you may not need to go through with all of them. These include:
Tier 1 Evaluation: Initial Screening Phase
Tier 2 Evaluation: Evaluation Phase
Tier 3 Evaluation: Detailed Evaluation Phase
Tier 1 involves a general site survey, and generally looks at the overall condition of structures to ensure that adequate data has been collected about the site in regards to ASCE 31 compliance. If there are issues to be resolved, a Tier 2 evaluation will address these. However, if the project needs serious analysis or improvement, then it may require a more fully detailed Tier 3 evaluation.