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Evolution of codes for structural design in Mexico

Sergio M. Alcocer (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Querétaro, Mexico)
Víctor M. Castaño (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Querétaro, Mexico)

Structural Survey

ISSN: 0263-080X

Article publication date: 4 April 2008




The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of structural design code development in Mexico, as an example of how code evolution has taken place in many countries, and to discuss the challenges faced in improving code compliance and reducing vulnerability.


All building codes for Mexico City (1920‐2004) and current codes in Mexico were analyzed and compared in terms of their scope and contents. Emphasis is placed on understanding how design requirements, professional liabilities and overall performance requirements have evolved.


Structural codes have become more refined and complex, including at each revision the current state‐of‐the‐art knowledge. However, code compliance and code misinterpretation are prevalent, mainly because users are not familiar with the concepts and technologies involved. Also, it is stated that government authorities lack the technical capacity to identify code misinterpretations. Finally, it is stated that, for non‐engineered construction guidelines, other educational sources are needed in lieu of merely enforcing codes.

Research limitations/implications

Systematic research aimed at assessing the level of code compliance is needed.

Practical implications

A valuable source of changes and challenges in code implementation and compliance for students and practitioners is provided.


This paper summarizes information on the evolution of Mexican structural codes and offers a critique of the challenges and need for improving code implementation and reducing building vulnerability.



Alcocer, S.M. and Castaño, V.M. (2008), "Evolution of codes for structural design in Mexico", Structural Survey, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 17-28.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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