Kelly Cobeen



Kelly Cobeen joined WJE in 2008 with twenty-three years of experience in structural design, working in a wide range of project types, sizes, and construction materials. She has a special interest in seismic resistance of light-frame construction, applicable to new construction and seismic upgrade of existing buildings.

Ms. Cobeen has been involved in numerous code development, research, and educational activities. Her code development activities include involvement in the NEHRP Recommended Provisions for Seismic Regulations for New Buildings as well as International Building Code and International Residential Code development. Her educational activities include coauthoring the Design of Wood Structures textbook, teaching wood design at University of California, Berkeley, and teaching seminars for professional organizations. Ms. Cobeen’s research activities include involvement in the CUREE-Caltech Woodframe Project, studying improved seismic performance for wood-frame buildings.

In addition to light-frame construction, Ms. Cobeen has extensive experience in design, evaluation, and seismic upgrade of a wide range of building types, including concrete shear wall and frame buildings, steel-braced and moment- frame buildings, masonry buildings, and masonry infill buildings. Prior to joining WJE, Ms. Cobeen headed her own structural engineering firm in Lafayette, California, and was a principal at GFDS Engineers in San Francisco, California.


Earthquake Engineering

  • Coauthor, “Recommendations for Earthquake Resistance in the Design and Construction of Woodframe Buildings,” CUREE-Caltech Woodframe Projects Codes and Standards *
  • FEMA 232: Coauthor, “Home Builders’ Guide to Seismic Resistant Design and Construction,” National Institute of Building Sciences *
  • Chapter author, Earthquake Engineering: From Engineering Seismology to Performance-Based Engineering, Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2004 *


Seismic Evaluation

  • Old Solano Courthouse - Fairfield, CA: Seismic upgrade study of 1910s steel frame building with masonry infill *
  • Santa Margarita Adobe - Camp Pendleton, CA: Schematic seismic upgrade for adobe residence with nonductile concrete and hollow clay tile *
  • University of California, Berkeley, Haas Clubhouse at Strawberry Canyon: Schematic seismic upgrade *


Seismic Upgrade Design

  • ATC 66: Seismic Rehabilitation Training for One- and Two-Family Woodframe Dwellings, training developed with Applied Technology Council *
  • University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall Annex: Voluntary seismic strengthening *
  • California Palace of the Legion of Honor - San Francisco: Seismic upgrade to 1920s nonductile concrete frame building and extensive addition and remodeling *
  • Promontory Point - Foster City, CA: Seismic safety improvements to wood frame condominium *

* Indicates work with previous firms

Professional Affiliations

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)
International Code Council (ICC)
Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC)


Civil Engineer in CA
Professional Engineer in HI
Structural Engineer in CA


University of California, Berkeley
Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering, 1983
Master of Science, Civil Engineering, 1984