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Effect of Structural Deficiencies on the Collapse Probability of Buildings during Earthquakes

Awarded: NOK 1.3 mill.

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Project Period:

2013 - 2020

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During the latter half of the 20th century, the research on earthquake engineering saw great progress. It is thus possible to build spectacular structures that can withstand relatively intensive earthquakes. This is illustrated by the fact that lives are rarely lost due to earthquakes in industrialized countries. However, the contrast is great to developing countries where earthquakes repeatedly cause massive destruction and human suffering. This is because the guidelines applied in industrialized countries often are not followed in developing countries, partly due to lack of expertise, but mainly due to economic considerations. This study investigates the risk of collapse of structures in which one of the principles for earthquake safety is omitted in the design process. Thus, the effect of deficiencies quantified against each other. The result can be used in construction of a new building where the economy is limited. One can then evaluate which deficiency has the least impact on safety. Similarly, the results can also be used when consulting firms shall estimate the cost of design of a structure. Then research results will be used to assess which elements in the design that will have the greatest impact on safety and price.


A major earthquake turns into a disaster when it affects an area with man-made structures that are vulnerable to the effects of the ground shaking caused by the earthquake. Today, there are many regions that has a vulnerable building stock under the threa t of a major earthquake every day. A lot of research is devoted to design of expensive, monumental buildings but we can save more lives by showing attention to basic principles that can be taken into account almost regardless of the size and budget of th e project. Identifying the vulnerabilities of the existing building stock, particularly in the developing countries, and providing simple solutions to these vulnerabilities remains one of the biggest challenges of the earthquake engineering community. Th e main objective of this project is to quantify the importance on various seismic vulnerabilities with respect to each other. Once the most significant vulnerability is identified, the effects of different remedies to decrease the effect of this particula r vulnerability will be investigated. This study will quantify the effects of certain structural deficiencies on the collapse probability to refine and improve the standard questionnaires for structural vulnerability assessment of buildings. The results will help earthquake engineers decide what to change in current and planned structures. It will be developed for areas with high seismic hazard, but I will investigate how the form can be adapted to Norwegian conditions which are characterized by mediocre seismic hazard. These objectives will help save lives and economic values during future earthquakes.

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