Performance-based design (PBD) originated as a response to the considerable structural and non-structural damage experienced by buildings during earthquakes in the 1990s. Its application is gradually extending into other fields in a trend that is likely to continue as the power of computational and analysis tools increases.
PBD has the potential to deliver more resilient and reliable designs than a prescriptive code-based approach, and to allow the use of innovative materials and technologies, provided that reliability targets and performance goals are met. A move away from a one-size-fits-all code-based approach has the potential to result in significantly more economical and lower-carbon designs.
This article describes current PBD uses and state of the art, and advocates the potential for its wider application in a holistic approach.