Review of methods to assess the seismic vulnerability of buildings, with particular reference to hospitals and medical facilities

Abstract

The scope of this document is to provide DFID Nepal with an overview of relevant methods and accepted standards for assessing the seismic vulnerability of buildings, and particularly hospitals and medical facilities that constitute the Nepalese portfolio. This includes reinforced concrete and masonry buildings of various structural and geometrical characteristics. This report aims to describe in a simple yet scientific way the existing seismic vulnerability methods, in order to be understood by non-seismic-specialist civil engineers.

The report reviews the state-of-the-art procedures that are currently implemented within the vulnerability assessment framework. The advantages and limitations of each method are discussed, taking into account their suitability for the Nepalese hospitals and medical facilities stock.

Based on the outcomes of the abovementioned section and considering the Nepalese building stock, separate recommendations are made for each structural category, namely low-rise/mid- to high-rise reinforced concrete (RC) and non-reinforced/reinforced masonry buildings.

A brief review of relevant international standards/building codes is presented, summarising their accepted methodologies. The reviewed guidelines and codes include the recently released Global Earthquake Model (GEM) and the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidelines, as well as Eurocode 8 and Indian standards. The final part of this document includes examples of implementation of these methodologies to real case hospitals worldwide.

It is worth noting that the assessment of the structural vulnerability is of utmost importance in order to get an idea about the building’s exposure to suffering structural damage as a direct effect of earthquake shaking. However, for high-priority structures such as hospitals and schools in particular, the vulnerability of non-structural and functional features can lead to severe functional and indirect losses (e.g. costs related to disruption of services) in the direct aftermath of an event and in the weeks and months to follow, which may far exceed the losses caused by structural characteristics (i.e. costs to repair structural and non-structural components). This is explicitly addressed by the authors in the associated document Review of the Non-Structural Considerations for Seismic Retrofitting Hospitals impact on Hospital Functionality, and Hospital Selection.

This report has been produced for Evidence on Demand with the assistance of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) contracted through the Climate, Environment, Infrastructure and Livelihoods Professional Evidence and Applied Knowledge Services (CEIL PEAKS) programme, jointly managed by DAI (which incorporates HTSPE Limited) and IMC Worldwide Limited.

Citation

D’Ayala, D.; Galasso, C.; Minas, S.; Novelli, V. Review of methods to assess the seismic vulnerability of buildings, with particular reference to hospitals and medical facilities. Evidence on Demand, UK (2015) iii + 28 pp. [DOI: 10.12774/eod_hd.june2015.dayaladetal]

Review of methods to assess the seismic vulnerability of buildings, with particular reference to hospitals and medical facilities

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