Feature photograph of News: Press Release

News: Press Release

Introducing USRC’s New Earthquake Rating System

As of November 30, 2015 the U.S. Resiliency Council launched the USRC Earthquake Rating System.  Modeled after the U.S Green Buildings Council and its LEED rating system, the USRC hopes to promote seismic safety and building resiliency in the public’s conscience through its rating system as USGBC has successfully done with environmental sustainability. The new rating system has the support of many prominent professionals in industry and this is what a few have to say:

I believe in the importance of the US Resiliency Council to provide a long-needed tool for educating the public in understanding and appreciating seismic safety and resiliency in the buildings where we live, work and play.

David A. Friedman, SE, Senior Principal, Emeritus CEO & Chair of the Board – Forell / Elsesser Engineers

The USRC is poised to fill one of the key missing links needed to create Disaster Resilient Communities. The USRC rating system will provide transparent information on the level of safety and functionality from each rated building; information that reliable mitigation and recovery plans can be based on.

-Chris D Poland Consulting Engineer,   NIST Disaster Resilience Fellow,   Member, National Academy of Engineers

I support the mission and goals of the USRC because I believe it is of great importance to achieve greater public understanding of the nuances of building and infrastructure resiliency in the face of the threat of natural disasters such as earthquakes, storms, and fires. I believe that a more nuanced rating system or systems would aid in achieving this goal.

Michael Bade Associate Vice Chancellor – Capital Programs at the University of California San Francisco



Missconceptions 1

1. Cities would not allow unsafe buildings to be occupied or sold.


Building codes evolve dramatically over time, as technologies improve and engineers learn from each new disaster. This knowledge reveals previously hidden hazards in existing buildings. Most communities do not require these dangerous buildings be demolished or even retrofitted.

2. The most dangerous buildings rent for less or are located only in poorer neighborhoods.


In many US cities, the most desirable areas were built decades ago. Older structures there can command premium rents owing to location and historic charm. As long as these older buildings in prime locations remain desirable, owners have little incentive to investigate their risk or invest in voluntary seismic improvements.

Missconceptions 2

3. Damage to the building’s structure is the most costly type of damage in earthquakes.


Dramatic structural failures gets press coverage but past earthquakes show that the most expensive repair costs are typically non-structural elements like partitions, ceilings, fire sprinkler systems, mechanical and electrical components, and replacement of high value contents. Lost revenue and other business interruption costs can even exceed the value of the building itself.


To learn more about USRC’s new Earthquake Rating System and continue reading COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT BUILDINGS AND EARTHQUAKES follow the link below to USRC’s Article:

Improving the Built Environment and Promoting Community Resilience


Olshesky Design Group Receives 2016 Best of Alexandria Award

2016 Best of Alexandria Crystal Award

Alexandria Award Program Honors the Achievement

ALEXANDRIA April 20, 2016 — Olshesky Design Group has been selected for the 2016 Best of Alexandria Award in the Architects category by the Alexandria Award Program.

Each year, the Alexandria Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Alexandria area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2016 Alexandria Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Alexandria Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Alexandria Award Program

The Alexandria Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Alexandria area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Alexandria Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Alexandria Award Program




Exhibition Explores Natural Hazard Risks and Mitigation Strategies

Open Now

WASHINGTON, D.C.—From earthquakes and hurricanes to flooding and rising sea levels, natural disasters can strike anywhere and at any time. No region of the country is immune from the impacts and rising costs of disaster damage. In light of this stark reality, the National Building Museum presents a multimedia exhibition titled Designing for Disaster, a call-to-action for citizen preparedness—from design professionals and local decision-makers to homeowners and school kids. The exhibition explores strategies local leaders are currently pursuing to reduce their risks and build more disaster-resilient communities. The exhibition is open now and remains on view through August 2, 2015. Visitors to Designing for Disaster will explore new approaches in design and engineering to protect life and property against a range of natural hazards. The exhibition will be organized by the destructive forces associated with each of the elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Artifacts from past disasters, such as a door marked after Hurricane Katrina, singed opera glasses from the Waldo Canyon wildfire, and stone fragments from the earthquake-damaged National Cathedral, express the destructive power of nature.

Not to be missed:

· A partially deconstructed FEMA-specified “safe room”—one of the few defenses against a tornado or violent storm—will illustrate how it is built to withstand tornado force winds and flying debris

· A “wall of wind” (modeled on Florida International University’s wind testing facility) invites visitors to test various roof shapes against simulated hurricane-force winds to see which shape performs best

· A button-activated set of moving stairs that show how the expansion joints within the seating bowl at the University of California, Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium would actually perform in the event of an earthquake. Case studies will explore a range of flexible design and planning schemes, public policies, and new forecasting technologies as ways to reduce risks before the next disaster. The scale is as varied as the solutions, from engineering advancements and seismic retrofits of esteemed historic buildings (University of California, Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium) and bridges (Eastern Span of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge) to urgent, hands-on lessons, through models, animated drawings, and interactive displays. Multimedia components include expert profiles: new interviews with industry leaders, such as Richard Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center and Kit Miyamoto, CEO, Miyamoto International and California Seismic Safety Commissioner; a testing video from the Insurance Industry for Business & Home Safety Research Center in Richburg, South Carolina, where experts test the effect of gale-force winds on residential structures; a recording from the 1989 MLB World Series, interrupted by an earthquake; and a projection table exploring the 2010 Fourmile Canyon fire in Colorado. Custom interactives will allow visitors to test their disaster preparedness by choosing the best recourse in disaster scenarios. The exhibition closes with images and stories of everyday people who have taken steps both large and small to safeguard their homes and families. Visitors will be challenged to take similar actions. Links to online resources, an ongoing exhibition blog, and a blog/social media campaign called #MitigationNation will help visitors get started.


The National Building Museum and its partners have planned a full slate of public programming to complement the exhibition. Topics include the effects of hurricanes in urban areas; the Rebuild by Design project that hopes to revitalize the region affected by Hurricane Sandy; the rising waters of the Chesapeake Bay; the importance of resilient landscapes; and more. Check website for a full list of programs, descriptions, and speakers. Press passes available.


Admission to Museum exhibitions is $8 for adults, $5 for youth, students, and seniors, and free for National Building Museum members and children under three. Visit www.nbm.org to purchase tickets online.


Designing for Disaster is generously supported by Lafarge North America; The Home Depot Foundation; American Red Cross; Andersen Corporation; The Nature Conservancy; AECOM; Center for Disaster Philanthropy; National Endowment for the Arts; ASSA ABLOY; Construction Specialties, Inc.; National Fire Protection Association; United Technologies Corporation; Federal Emergency Management Agency; Kingdom of the Netherlands; Association of State Floodplain Managers and the Association of State Floodplain Managers Foundation; Florida International University; Nixon Peabody LLP; Rebuild by Design; RenaissanceRe Risk Sciences Foundation; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; Arup; and URS Corporation. Science Channel is our exclusive Television Media Sponsor, and the Washington Post is a media partner.


The National Building Museum is America’s leading cultural institution dedicated to advancing the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives. Through its exhibitions, educational programs, online content, and publications, the Museum has become a vital forum for the exchange of ideas and information about the world we build for ourselves. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448 or visit www.nbm.org. Follow us on Twitter: @BuildingMuseum and Facebook:




– Olshesky Design Group is happy to announce that we now offer Design-Build Services including construction under NAICS Code 236220.  Our Construction Manager has over 35 years of experience supervising projects from 2,500 SF to 1,000,000 SF throughout the Washington, DC region and beyond.  The firm’s current Design-Build experience includes both Commercial and Residential projects.  We are currently providing Design-Build services for Historic Renovation projects dating from 1860 and 1933.

– Olshesky Design Group will be participating in the GovConectx Expo at Ft. Belvoir on February 27 2014.

February 27th, 2014
Officers Club
5500 Schulz Circle, #20
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060

Free Admission To All Government Personnel

Event Information for Government Personnel:


–  Are you a Federal Agency in need of Space Planning services?  ODG is an 8(a) GSA Contract Holder (GS-29F-0001Y) under schedule 71 II K, Comprehensive Furniture Management Services (CFMS).  Under this schedule, we can assist your agency with evaluating your space requirements and specifying furniture to meet your needs.

–  Olshesky Design Group principal Janice Olshesky recently attended the National Institute of Building Sciences second annual conference in Washington, DC.  Janice has been an active member of NIBS for many years and has been asked to serve on the Multihazard Mitigation Council Symposium Committee for 2015.

–  Olshesky Design Group principal Janice Olshesky was recently appointed to the board of Historic Cambridge Incorporated, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic buildings in the city of Cambridge, Md.  She attended her first board meeting on January 10, 2014, and looks forward to furthering the cause of historic preservation in Cambridge.

–  Olshesky Design Group is proud to announce our Mentor-Protégé relationship with Leo A Daly through the Small Business Administration.  This relationship will allow us to serve our current and future Federal clients with the combined expertise and experience of both companies.

–  Olshesky Design Group has been recognized for its work by national organizations.  Olshesky Design Group won the “Nation’s Top Businesses for 2012” award, in March, 2012, by Diversity Business. ODG won this national award under the category of “Top 100 Women Owned Businesses in Virginia”.

–  In November of 2013, ODG was awarded the Small Business Commerce Association’s “Best of Business” Award. The is the fourth time ODG was recognized for this award. The SBCA “Best of Business” Award Program recognizes the top 5% of small businesses throughout the country. Using consumer feedback and other research, the SBCA identifies companies that they believe have demonstrated what makes small businesses a vital part of the American economy. The selection committee chooses the award winners from nominees based off information taken from monthly surveys administered by the SBCA, a review of consumer rankings, and other consumer reports. Award winners are a valuable asset to their community and exemplify what makes small businesses great.