RESTON, VA. — The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will conduct a public comment period on the new professional standard, Seismic Design of Pile-Supported Piers and Wharves. The public comment period will be held from Feb. 1, 2013 through March 18, 2013.

The new standard will provide analysis and design guidance for wharves and piers. It is intended to reflect the current practice of seismic design of piers and wharves, aspects of which differ considerably from conventional design of buildings or building-like structures.

It will address their unique load combinations — including berthing and mooring loads that may govern the lateral load design in low seismic regions — in addition to geotechnical issues, such as the potential for pile foundations to penetrate through weak soil layers. Other primary considerations include liquefaction, lateral spreading and ground failures impacting slopes and earth structures.

This standard contains displacement-based design methods that have become widely used in the industry for over a decade, and have been supported by a number of industry-sponsored testing programs.

This standard is intended to benefit designers and owners by providing a method for considering the economic importance of a structure in addition to meeting life-safety requirements. It is also intended to benefit building officials who do not routinely deal with waterfront structures.

To participate in the public comment period, contact James Neckel, ASCE’s Codes and Standards Coordinator, at or 703-295-6176.