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Original Title: On the Seismic Vulnerability of Existing Buildings - A Case Study of the City of Basel

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On the Seismic Vulnerability of Existing Buildings - A Case Study of the City of Basel

On the Seismic Vulnerability of Existing Buildings - A Case Study of the City of Basel

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of Basel

Kerstin Langa) and Hugo Bachmann,a) M.EERI

In order to assess the seismic risk for Switzerland, and particularly for the

city of Basel, the seismic vulnerability of the existing buildings needs to be

evaluated. Since no major damaging earthquake has occurred in Switzerland

in recent times, vulnerability functions from observed damage patterns are

not available. A simple evaluation method based on engineering models of

the building structures suitable for the evaluation of a larger number of buildings is therefore proposed. The method is based on a nonlinear static approach acknowledging the importance of the nonlinear deformation capacity

of the buildings subjected to seismic action. Eighty-seven residential buildings in a small target area in Basel were evaluated. The results are vulnerability functions that express the expected damage as a function of the spectral displacement. In order to extrapolate the results to other residential areas

of the town, building classes were defined for which the vulnerability is presented in a probabilistic form that can be used directly for earthquake scenario projects. [DOI: 10.1193/1.1648335]

INTRODUCTION

Switzerland has experienced destructive earthquakes throughout its history. Most notable were the events of 1356 in Basel and 1855 in the Valais. Although such events are

very rare, their intensity is comparable to the major earthquakes of Northridge, California, in 1994 and Kobe, Japan, in 1995. The assigned intensity of the 1356 event according to the European Macroseismic Scale (Grunthal 1998) is IEMSIX.

In order to assess the seismic risk for Switzerland, and particularly for the city of

Basel, a joint project on the subject of Earthquake Scenarios for Switzerland was

launched by the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) and the Institute of Structural Engineering (IBK) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH). The goals of

this study are to improve the assessment of seismic hazard, to investigate the vulnerability of the built environment, and finally, to combine the results to elaborate risk scenarios as the first fundamental step in the mitigation process.

The project is divided into four research lines. The first research line is a paleoseismic study to identify prehistoric earthquakes with the goal to estimate the return period

of large events in order to extend the record used for probabilistic hazard assessment

(Becker et al. 2002). The second research line focuses on the simulation of strong

ground motion for regional hazard assessment in Switzerland resulting in a new map of

a)

43

Earthquake Spectra, Volume 20, No. 1, pages 4366, February 2004; 2004, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute

44

seismic hazard in terms of spectral values (Bay 2002). The third research line takes into

account local site effects and results in a microzonation for the city of Basel (Kind

2002). Finally, the fourth research line comprises a vulnerability analysis of the buildings in a small target area in the city of Basel where for each building the vulnerability

function is determined (Lang 2002).

The results of these four research lines will be incorporated into a geographical information system (GIS) that allows the calculation of the expected damages for different

earthquake scenarios.

The study described in this paper focuses on the fourth research line, the vulnerability of existing buildings. The vulnerability is commonly expressed by functions or matrices that can be obtained either by statistical studies of damaged buildings in

earthquake-struck areas or by simulations using numerical and analytical models of the

building structure. Since no major damaging earthquake has occurred in Switzerland in

recent times, vulnerability functions or matrices from observed damage patterns are not

available. As a consequence, a method is required that allows the evaluation of the vulnerability of existing buildings with regard to the earthquake scenario project. The main

objective of this study is to develop a generic method for estimating damage rather than

quantitative results.

Various methods for the assessment of the vulnerability of buildings exist that differ

in expenditure and precision ranging from very simplified and rather global loss estimation methods based on observations and expert opinions, via simple analytical models

and score assignments, to rather detailed analysis procedures.

Global loss estimation methods based on observations and expert opinions have been

used successfully in earthquake-prone areas where they have a lot of experience with

earthquakes and a statistical evaluation of observations is possible; however, the validity

for buildings in Switzerland is questionable due to different construction techniques.

Score assignments are already rather time consuming and also require some experience

from earthquakes in order to rate the structural deficiencies. It was therefore decided to

use an analytical approach with simple models of the buildings based on a nonlinear

static procedure. Linear analysis procedures, although rather simple, are not considered

suitable acknowledging the importance of the nonlinear displacement capacity for the

seismic behavior of a building. On the other hand, nonlinear dynamic analysis procedures imply very high computational effort with a rather limited validity (a unique building subjected to a specific earthquake) and are therefore not very practical for earthquake scenarios where a large number of buildings have to be evaluated.

Considering the framework of this study, the risk assessment for the city of Basel,

the evaluation of a larger number of buildings is required, and hence the evaluation

method needs to be quite simple. This precludes the consideration of torsion (due to significant asymmetric structural configuration), pounding of adjacent buildings with insufficient joint width, and interaction of adjacent buildings sharing a common wall. In addition, further simplifying assumptions are made that will be discussed in due course.

The study focuses on residential buildings for several reasons. First, residential

buildings constitute the majority of the building population in Basel; nevertheless, they

45

often tend to be neglected in other studies that concentrate on the evaluation of lifelines

and essential facilities (Basler & Hofmann 1992) and industrial facilities (Simon 1998).

For a more complete evaluation of the vulnerability of the building stock in Basel, the

results of these studies could be incorporated into the earthquake scenario project. Second, residential buildings are usually quite regular in plan and elevation; thus the simplifications of the evaluation method apply. Essential facilities often consist of very irregular structures requiring a more detailed analysis, whereas the vulnerability of

industrial facilities is usually determined not only by the building structure but also by

the equipment.

THE EVALUATION METHOD

DEFINITION OF A VULNERABILITY FUNCTION

building or a class of buildings as a function of the ground motion intensity. In order to

assess the vulnerability function of a building, its capacity to resist seismic action has to

be determined first. This is a function of the characteristics of the building structure and

can be expressed by a capacity curve, which is defined as the base shear Vb acting on the

building as a function of the horizontal displacement at the top of the building , also

often referred to as a pushover curve. The vulnerability function is obtained by relating

the top displacement , as a result of a certain level of ground motion, to a measure of

damage.

To estimate the damage to the building subjected to earthquake action, the vulnerability function of the building is compared to the seismic demand.

To express the seismic demand, the macroseismic intensity was used nearly exclusively until very recently. This descriptive parameter of an earthquake based on observations of the effect of the earthquake on the environment has the advantage that historical data on earthquakes are available. However, the information on the real ground

movement is lost and empirical relationships between intensity and maximum ground

acceleration vary a lot. Some methods use the peak ground acceleration as the parameter

defining the seismic input. However, in that case the information on the frequency content is lost. Thus a better parameter is the spectral value, the spectral acceleration Sa, or,

acknowledging the importance of the displacement capacity of a building under seismic

action, the spectral displacement Sd .

TERMINOLOGY

equal to the total height of the building Htot (indicated by the hatched area).

A pier is a wall element of length lw and of a height hp equal to the height of the

adjacent opening, which can be window or a door (indicated by the lightly

shaded areas).

The spandrels are horizontal members of the building that join the walls in one

plane (indicated by the darkly shaded areas).

46

All the walls in one plane joined by floors and spandrels constitute a wall plane.

Thus a facade of a building constitutes a wall plane, as do all the walls in one

plane in the interior of the building.

Note that in Switzerland most buildings are structural wall systems (either reinforced

concrete walls or unreinforced masonry walls); structural frame systems are hardly ever

used and hence are not considered in this study.

CAPACITY CURVE OF A BUILDING

The capacity curve is generally constructed to represent the first mode response of

the building based on the assumption that the building responds to a seismic input predominantly in its fundamental mode of vibration. Thus the distribution of the equivalent

lateral earthquake force over the height of the building should comply with the first

mode shape:

Fi

mii

mii

Vb ,

(1)

in which mi is the concentrated mass and i is the first mode displacement at the i-th

floor level. A reasonable approximation of the fundamental mode shape for more or less

regular structures is given assuming a triangular force distribution.

A simple way to obtain the capacity curve of a building is by superposition of the

capacity curves of the individual walls. This assumes that the floors are completely rigid

in their plane, thus assuring equal displacements of the walls at the floor levels, and that

torsional effects can be neglected. The second assumption seems justified for the resi-

47

dential buildings considered, which are rather regular in plan and elevation even though

at high damage grades torsional effects may become significant once some walls have

failed. The first assumption is reasonable in the case of reinforced concrete floors. In the

case of timber floors, which are customary in almost all buildings constructed before

1950, however, the assumption of rigid diaphragms corresponds to a very crude estimation only.

A full discussion of the implication of timber floors is beyond the scope of this paper

but a few comments seem appropriate as it may have a significant influence on the behavior of the building. First, timber floors may be rather flexible, thus deforming under

the earthquake loading leading to differential displacements between in-plane loaded

walls and enhancing the excitation of out-of-plane loaded walls. Amplifications of the

out-of-plane excitation of three or four are possible. However, static and dynamic tests of

timber and steel diaphragms have also shown that the more flexible the diaphragms the

more nonlinear their behavior reducing the amplification (Bruneau 1994, Simsir et al.

2002). Second, the timber floors may yield before the walls reach their full strength, thus

limiting the shear force transmitted to the walls. Third, due to the flexibility of the timber

floors the structural response of the whole building is modified. These effects due to the

flexible nonlinear behavior of the timber floors are neglected in the earthquake scenario

project for the city of Basel for reasons of simplicity. For the assessment of individual

buildings, however, they should be taken into account. Finally, the floor-wall connections

of timber floors are often critical and this has a significant influence on the behavior of

out-of-plane loaded walls (cf. Vulnerability Function).

The construction of the capacity curve is demonstrated by means of a simple fictitious example building with four walls in the x-direction. Figure 2 shows a plan view of

the fictitious example building.

The corresponding capacity curve as shown in Figure 3 is given by

Vb V jV1V2V3V4

(2)

Approximating the capacity curve of the fictitious example building bilinearly, the

stiffness of the linear elastic part k corresponds to the sum of the effective stiffnesses of

the walls:

48

Vbm

keff jkeff 1keff 2keff 3keff 4

by

j

(3)

in which Vbm is the shear capacity and by is the nominal top yield displacement of the

building.

Hence in order to determine the capacity curve of the building, the capacity curves

of the walls have to be determined first. They are represented by a bilinear approximation with a linear elastic part up to the point where the shear capacity of the wall Vm is

reached and a perfectly plastic part with zero stiffness (Figure 4). The capacity curves

are therefore fully defined by three parameters, the shear capacity of the wall Vm , the

nominal yield displacement at the top of the wall y , and the nominal ultimate displacement at the top of the wall u , which can be determined depending on the material,

reinforced concrete or unreinforced masonry. In this context the term yield is used for

the transition point between the linear elastic and the ideal plastic part of the bilinear

capacity curve of a wall, irrespective of the material.

For the scenario project for the city of Basel, the shear capacity of an unreinforced

masonry wall element, such as a pier, is determined using the lower-bound theorem of

plasticity and the failure criterions developed by Ganz (1985). The yield displacement is

determined as the displacement corresponding to the shear strength of the wall element

using elastic analysis but with an effective stiffness (EIeff and GAeff) that takes into ac-

49

count the stiffness reduction due to cracking. The reduction factor was calibrated using

test results of unreinforced masonry wall elements tested at the ETH Zurich (Ganz and

Thurlimann 1984) and a value of 0.5 is suggested. To determine the ultimate drift, an

empirical relationship is derived from the same test results that express the ultimate drift

of a wall element u in [%] as a function of the acting normal stress n in [MPa]:

u0.80.25n

(4)

Comparison with other test results (Magenes and Calvi 1994, Anthoine et al. 1994)

have shown that this simple relationship gives good approximations of the ultimate displacement capacity. The capacity of a wall is then determined by that wall element that

reaches its capacity first.

The bilinear capacity curve of a reinforced concrete wall can be derived from the

moment curvature relationship of the wall section at the base of the wall, assuming a

triangular distribution of the equivalent seismic force and a plastic hinge at the base. The

yield point corresponds to the extrapolation of the point of first yield of the tensile reinforcement (y ,M y) to the moment capacity M u :

Mu

My y

(5)

The ultimate point is determined by the extreme compressive fiber reaching the ultimate

compressive strain of concrete or by the ductility capacity of the reinforcing steel,

whichever is more critical. If, however, the shear capacity of the wall is governing, the

ductility of the wall is assumed to be equal to 1 (brittle behavior). For more details on

the determination of the capacity curves of unreinforced masonry walls and of reinforced concrete walls, the reader is referred to Lang (2002).

COUPLING EFFECT

Due to the fact that the walls are joined by floors and spandrels, a coupling effect is

produced. Depending on the extent of the spandrels, this coupling effect will be bigger

50

Figure 5. Bending moment distribution for two cases of coupled walls: (a) negligible coupling

effect (interacting cantilever walls), and (b) strong coupling effect due to horizontally acting

equivalent earthquake forces and corresponding reactions.

or smaller. In the absence of spandrels where the walls are joined only by the floors (often the case for reinforced concrete buildings), the coupling effect is negligible and the

walls can be regarded as interacting cantilever walls. For deep spandrels (often found in

masonry buildings) the coupling effect is considerable and has to be taken into account.

In a general way, every wall plane can be regarded as a system of coupled walls, the

case of interacting cantilever walls being a limit case where the stiffness of the spandrels becomes negligible with respect to the stiffness of the walls and hence the coupling

effect reduces to zero.

Figure 5 shows the bending moment distribution for two cases of coupled walls submitted to equivalent lateral earthquake forces. Figure 5a shows the case where the walls

are joined by very flexible floors only and hence the coupling effect is negligible; the

whole system can be regarded as interacting cantilever walls. Figure 5b shows the case

of very deep spandrels producing a considerable coupling effect.

For regular frames the extent of the coupling effect can be expressed by a single parameter, the height of zero moment h0 . For a two-story frame as shown in Figure 5 with

the two equivalent lateral earthquake forces F1 and F2 , h0 is given by the following polynomial expression:

51

Figure 6. Variation of h0 /hst with (EIsp /l0)/(EIp /hst): (a) for the two-story frame of Figure 5

with a triangular force distribution, (b) for different force distributions, (c) for different stiffnesses of the piers in the upper and lower stories, and (d) for different frames with different

number of stories and different number of walls.

h0 F1112x18x2F2215x18x2

EIsp /lo

with x

2

2

hst F1118x36x F2118x36x

EIp /hst

(6)

in which EIsp /lo is the flexural stiffness of the spandrels and EIp /hst is the flexural stiffness of the piers. Note that for hohst , h0 does not indicate the height of a true point of

zero moment but corresponds to the height of the extrapolated zero moment of the pier.

Figure 6a shows the variation of h0 /hst with (EIsp /lo)/(EIp /hst) for the two-story

frame of Figure 5 (22 frame, where the first number denotes the number of walls and

the second number the number of stories) with a triangular force distribution (F1 /F2

0.5). Figures 6b, c, and d show the variation of h0 /hst with (EIsp /lo)/(EIp /hst) for different force distributions (different ratios of F1 /F2), different stiffnesses of the piers in

the upper and lower stories, and different frames with different number of stories and

different number of walls, respectively. The figures show clearly that the variation of

h0 /hst with (EIsp /lo)/(EIp /hst) for different input parameters is very similar; for the purpose of the evaluation method proposed the use of a single representative relationship

seems therefore appropriate.

Given the value of h0 , the relationship between the shear force V and the bending

moments at the top and bottom of a pier, M 1 and M 2 , is fully determined:

M 1Vh0hp and

M 2Vh0 .

(7)

52

It should be noted that only the coupling within a wall plane is considered, but not

the coupling of two parallel wall planes. Since the coupling of two parallel wall planes is

usually much smaller this simplification seems reasonable when considering the accuracy required for earthquake scenario projects. A full consideration of this problem requires a three-dimensional model that is not practicable for a scenario project.

The capacity of the spandrels is not considered explicitly. It is assumed that they can

accommodate the internal forces that are required for equilibrium. Clearly this is not the

case for unreinforced masonry spandrels, which usually will not be able to accommodate

the forces required for equilibrium at the yield point of the piers without damage, but

will have cracked. This is taken into account in a simplified way by introducing a reduced stiffness of the spandrels thus taking into account a reduced coupling effect due to

cracking. Since comparison with test results (cf. section Verification of the Evaluation

Method) shows a good agreement, a more refined model taking into account the capacity of the spandrels was not considered.

SEISMIC DEMAND

spectra are acceleration response spectra or displacement response spectra where the

maximum acceleration or displacement of a single-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) system is

plotted as a function of its frequency. Recently the use of response spectra in the ADRS

format (acceleration-displacement response spectrum) has become increasingly popular

(ATC 1996). However, it is only a different representation of the same data; it does not

give further information. The use of either format is therefore the choice of the engineer.

In the following, the displacement response spectrum will be used to represent the seismic input throughout this work.

The use of a response spectrum assumes that the building, which can be seen as a

multi-degree-of-freedom (MDOF) system where the masses are concentrated at the floor

levels and the mass of the walls is divided between the two levels above and below (Figure 7) can be described by an equivalent SDOF system characterized by an equivalent

mass mE and an equivalent stiffness kE , having a frequency equal to the fundamental

frequency of the building:

1

f 1

2

kE

mE

(8)

If the stiffness of the real structure obtained from the bilinear approximation of the

capacity curve of the building (cf. Figure 3) is used as the equivalent stiffness kE of the

SDOF system:

Vbm

by

(9)

mE mii

(10)

kEk

the equivalent mass is given by

53

in which mi is the concentrated mass and i is the first mode displacement at the i-th

floor level normalized such that the first mode displacement at the top story n1.

Two different approaches exist to obtain the displacement demand at the top of the

building D taking into account the nonlinear behavior of the building. One is the use of

inelastic demand spectra, the other is the use of highly damped elastic spectra.

Using inelastic spectra, the displacement demand D at the top of the building is

related to the equivalent elastic displacement be (Figure 8):

Dcnbe

with benSd f 1

(11)

The relationship between the elastic displacement at the top of the building be and the

spectral displacement Sd (f 1) can be derived using model analysis. is the modal participation factor defined as

mii

(12)

mi2i

The constant cn takes into account the inelastic behavior and can be determined as a

function of the strength reduction factor R and the ductility demand D :

D

D

with D

cn

R

by

and R

Vbe

Vbm

(13)

The first to have studied this kind of relationship were Veletsos and Newmark

(1960). Their findings can be summarized simply, as follows:

2D1 f 1f c2

(14)

54

Figure 8. Base sheartop displacement relationship for a linear elastic behavior and a nonlinear behavior.

The two limiting frequencies f c1 and f c2 depend on the ductility demand of the system and the characteristic values of the elastic spectrum. Typical values are f c1

1.4 Hz and f c22 Hz.

Many other RDf 1 relationships exist; a good overview is given by both Miranda

and Bertero (1994) and Chopra and Goel (1999).

It is often considered as the major drawback of these methods that they do not regard

the change in the fundamental frequency with increasing nonlinear behavior nor the hysteretic energy dissipation characteristics. As the damage increases, the stiffness reduces,

which will affect directly the fundamental frequency (and thus the spectral response

Sd(f 1)) and the damping increases. In the second approach, therefore, based on the

substitute-structure approach of Shibata and Sozen (1976), the displacement demand at

the top of the building D is found from a highly damped elastic spectrum and an

equivalent stiffness corresponding to the secant stiffness:

Vm

kequ

D

(15)

The equivalent stiffness depends on the required top displacement D and illustrates

the fact that the capacity of a building and the seismic demand are not independent.

However, the equivalent stiffness corresponds only to the final point of the response independent of the initial stiffness and the change in the stiffness along the load path. The

critical point of the procedure is the use of highly damped elastic spectra. Eurocode 8

(1995) proposes the following correction factor for response spectra for damping values

different from 5% that is frequently adopted in studies on displacement-based design

(Calvi 1999, Borzi et al. 2001):

7

.

2equ

(16)

55

damping that is inherent in the structure, v , and hysteretic damping, which is related to

the area inside the hysteresis loop and therefore depends on the ductility demand:

1 ED

equ v

4 Es0

(17)

in which ED is the energy dissipated by damping that corresponds to the area enclosed

by the hysteresis loop and Es0 is the maximum strain energy (Chopra 1995).

The discussion of these approaches goes beyond the scope of this work. The engineer should be aware that different approaches exist, however, for the purpose of the

earthquake scenario project the variation of the results is of minor consequence and

since the approach of inelastic spectra using equations 11, 12, 13, and 14 gives a

straightforward formulation of the required top displacement D , it will be used in the

following.

VULNERABILITY FUNCTION

Using equations 11, 12, 13, and 14, the displacement demand at the top of the building D can be plotted as a function of the spectral displacement Sd (f 1). However, this is

not yet a vulnerability function. Only when the damage is taken into account, the vulnerability function is obtained. The top displacement must be therefore associated

with a measure of damage.

Various approaches exist, often using a quantitative measurement where the damage

is expressed as a proportion of the total destruction (ATC 1985) or as a proportion of the

ultimate deformation capacity (Fajfar and Gaspersic 1996). It is felt by the authors that

these quantitative measurements are not very suitable for earthquake scenario projects

where the interest lies rather in monetary loss and casualties. A qualitative description of

damage is therefore adopted based on the classification of damage proposed by the EMS

98 (Grunthal 1998), which distinguishes between five damage grades ranging from negligible damage to destruction.

In order to use these damage grades, indicators had to be defined that determine

the points on the capacity curve of the building at which the building enters the next

damage grade. The main parameter used as indicator is structural damage, looking at

individual walls as well as the whole building. For example, for DG4 (very heavy damage), the description of this damage grade for reinforced concrete buildings is, Large

cracks in structural elements with compression failure of concrete and fracture of rebars;

bond failure of beam reinforced bars; tilting of columns. Collapse of a few columns or

a single upper floor (Grunthal 1998). Comparing this to the capacity curve of a reinforced concrete building, this damage grade is reached as soon as the first wall reaches

u (this corresponds to the point at which either the ultimate compressive strain of concrete at the extreme compressive fiber or the ductility capacity of the reinforcement steel

is reached), and hence the indicator of this damage grade is: failure of first wall. In a

similar way, the indicators of the other damage grades for reinforced concrete and unreinforced masonry buildings are defined. The damage to nonstructural elements is not

evaluated specifically but assumed according to the EMS 98. Table 1 summarizes the

indicators for each damage grade.

56

Damage grade

EMS 98

Identification

DG1

(no structural damage, slight nonstructural damage)

DG2

Moderate damage

(slight structural damage, moderate

nonstructural damage)

nonlinear, the stiffness of the building

starts to reduce

yield of the first wall

DG3

(moderate structural damage, heavy

nonstructural damage)

building, the stiffness of the building

tends to zero

yield of the last wall

DG4

(heavy structural damage, very heavy

nonstructural damage)

DG5

Destruction

(very heavy structural damage)

stress distribution reaches tensile

strength of material at the extreme

fiber of the wall section

building Vb below 2/3Vbm

function is obtained (Figure 9). The vulnerability function is linear for by since the

capacity curve of the building for by is in the linear elastic region (Figure 3), and

hence cn1 in Equation 11. For by the capacity curve of the building is in the plastic region and hence cnD /R in Equation 11. For buildings with f 1f c1 the vulnerability function is therefore nonlinear for by .

57

The use of the damage grades according to the EMS 98 allows a visual interpretation of the damage. Depending on the facility and the local practice, the financial loss

(structural as well as nonstructural) and the casualties can be derived from the physical

condition of the building.

So far only the in-plane behavior was considered. Unreinforced masonry walls

aligned orthogonal to the earthquake direction, however, can also fail in an out-of-plane

mode and this may endanger the gravity load-carrying capacity of the building. For reinforced concrete walls this is usually less critical. The out-of-plane behavior depends

very much on the floor-wall connection. For unreinforced masonry walls that are properly anchored to the floors, the out-of-plane behavior is usually not critical and the vulnerability function of the building is determined by the in-plane behavior. In cases where

the connections between orthogonal walls and between walls and floors are rather poor,

the walls might fail in an out-of-plane mechanism before an in-plane mechanism can be

triggered, leading to a correction of the vulnerability function. The out-of-plane behavior can be evaluated following the procedure described in Paulay and Priestley

(1992).

VERIFICATION OF THE EVALUATION METHOD

In order to verify the results of the evaluation method, experimental and analytical

data on the behavior of unreinforced masonry and reinforced concrete walls and buildings were used.

The evaluation method for unreinforced masonry buildings was applied to model

buildings tested. The first model building was tested under cyclic static action at the University of Pavia (Magenes et al. 1995). It was a two-story building at a scale 1:1. A second comparison was carried out with four unreinforced masonry model buildings that

were tested dynamically on the shaking table of the testing center ISMES in Italy (Benedetti and Pezzoli 1996). All four were two-story buildings at a scale 1:2. The comparisons show that the evaluation method suitably forecasts the capacity of a building, especially when considering the scatter of the test results. Only the plastic deformation

capacity of the buildings is rather underestimated. For more details the reader is referred

to (Lang 2002).

In the case of reinforced concrete buildings, no test data of whole buildings with a

reinforced concrete wall structure such as can be found in Switzerland were available.

The method was therefore compared with test data on individual reinforced concrete

walls tested dynamically and under cyclic static action at the ETH Zurich (Lestuzzi et al.

1999, Dazio et al. 1999) and with a recently proposed and thoroughly checked

deformation-oriented method (Dazio 2000). Again, the comparison is rather satisfactory

(cf. Lang 2002). The results of the evaluation method can therefore be regarded with

some confidence.

EVALUATION OF THE BUILDINGS IN A SMALL TARGET AREA IN BASEL

The evaluation method was applied to the buildings in a small target area in Basel

comprising four building blocks chosen to be representative of the building stock of the

residential areas in Basel. The buildings range between two and seven stories, some of

58

them having a small shop, restaurant, or workshop at the ground floor. As a presupposition of the evaluation of the buildings, a detailed inventory was established using plans

and elevations of the buildings that exist in the archives of the city. These data were

supplemented by a street survey to obtain additional information on the state of preservation, such as the presence of cracks or on possible alterations. An example database

record of the building inventory is shown in Figure 10. The information concerning the

exact coordinates of the building for the incorporation into the GIS and its value and

occupancy for the estimation of loss and casualties were not obtained yet and the corresponding fields were left blank.

RESULTS

unreinforced masonry, all of them with timber floors (URM). One-third are buildings

with a mixed system of vertical reinforced concrete elements combined with unreinforced masonry elements having reinforced concrete floors (URMRC). Figure 11

shows the distribution of the buildings by construction period and number of stories.

Almost all buildings constructed before 1950 are of unreinforced masonry with timber floors. Their number of stories ranges between two and five. All buildings constructed in the second half of the twentieth century are mixed systems of vertical reinforced concrete elements combined with unreinforced masonry elements having

reinforced concrete floors. Their number of stories ranges between five and seven.

Hence, knowing the construction period and the number of stories of the buildings, it is

possible to deduce the type of structure with a rather good reliability. This becomes important with regard to earthquake scenarios for larger areas or for the whole city where

it is not possible to prepare a detailed inventory with plans and elevations and carry out

the corresponding evaluation for each individual building. It is also desirable to use existing databases, such as can be found for the city of Basel, containing the height of the

building and/or the number of stories and the year of construction linked to address and

the corresponding coordinates.

For each building in the target area a vulnerability function in terms of damage

grade/spectral displacement was calculated following the procedure outlined above. Using as seismic input the design spectrum for medium stiff soil proposed by the Swiss

Standard SIA 160 (Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects 1989) for zone 3a with a

maximum ground acceleration ag1.3 m/s2, for each building the seismic demand was

determined using Equation 11. This was compared with the vulnerability function and

hence the damage grade results. The distribution of damage of all the 87 buildings given

this spectrum is shown in Figure 12.

It is striking that the buildings with a mixed system of vertical reinforced concrete

elements combined with unreinforced masonry elements have a higher seismic vulnerability than pure unreinforced masonry buildings. Eighty percent of these buildings experience damage grade 4 (very heavy damage) or 5 (destruction) according to the EMS

98. This is due to very unfavorable layouts in plan and elevation of these buildings with

59

very open facade wall planes and hardly any elements to resist the equivalent lateral

earthquake forces. Often reinforced concrete is replaced by unreinforced masonry in the

upper stories.

60

Figure 11. Distribution of the unreinforced masonry buildings (left) and of the buildings with

a mixed system of vertical reinforced concrete elements combined with unreinforced masonry

elements (right) by construction period and number of stories.

Considering the unreinforced masonry buildings, nearly 45% of the buildings experience damage grade 4 and 5. A correlation between damage and number of stories is

weakly perceptible.

BUILDING CLASSIFICATION

For earthquake scenarios for larger areas or for a whole town, it is hardly possible to

evaluate each individual building using the method presented. It is therefore desirable to

classify the buildings by means of a few characteristic parameters based on the results of

the evaluation of the buildings in the small target area. It is obvious that the structural

type plays the most important role. Another important parameter is the number of stories

Figure 12. Distribution of damage for the unreinforced masonry buildings (left) and for the

buildings with a mixed system of vertical reinforced concrete elements combined with unreinforced masonry elements (right) given the design spectrum for medium stiff soil for zone 3a

(SIA 160).

61

that can be easily derived from existing databases. Further important parameters such as

the number of walls and their lengths, normal forces, etc. are more difficult to obtain,

needing a detailed inventory. They are therefore not taken into account in the proposed

classification. This, however, is only a necessary simplification with regard to the earthquake scenario project; their omission does not imply that their influence on the vulnerability of a building is of second order. It follows that it is not possible to deduce from

the vulnerability function of a building class the vulnerability function of an individual

building, which can be very different.

Based on the damage distribution of the buildings in the small target area and the

main characteristic of the building stock, three building classes are defined:

floors (low-rise URM),

Class 2: medium-rise (46 stories) unreinforced masonry buildings with timber

floors (mid-rise URM),

Class 3: medium-rise buildings with a mixed system of vertical reinforced concrete elements combined with unreinforced masonry elements having reinforced

concrete floors (mid-rise URMRC).

seems obvious to express the vulnerability function of a building class using a probabilistic distribution instead of a single deterministic vulnerability curve. For each building

class the median values mx and the standard deviations sx of each set of values (fundamental frequencies f 1 and the spectral displacements at the onset of each damage grade

Sd(f 1)DGi , i1...5) are calculated. It is then assumed that each set of values of a building

class can be represented by a normal distribution that is defined by the mean x and the

standard deviation x and that are estimated using the median value and the standard

deviation of the sample: xmx and xsx . The distributions are truncated at zero to

avoid negative values. The cumulative distribution for each damage grade is often called

a fragility curve (Kircher et al. 1997, Hwang et al. 1997). These curves describe the

probability of a building belonging to a certain building class of reaching or exceeding

a particular damage grade given the spectral displacement. Since the influence of the

layout of a building and the number and length of the walls on the vulnerability function

of a building is predominant, uncertainties related to other basic parameter such as material properties were not considered specifically. Figure 13 shows the fragility curves

and the probability density functions of the fundamental frequencies of the three building classes. DG0 indicates no damage.

This format of a vulnerability function for building classes can be used directly for

earthquake scenarios and results in the expected damage distribution for any given spectrum. As no site-specific spectra were available at the time of completion of this research

line, the design spectrum for medium stiff soil proposed by the Swiss Standard for zone

3a with a maximum ground acceleration of ag1.3 m/s2 and corner frequencies of the

plateau at 2 and 10 Hz is used as an example seismic input. The distribution of damage

for the buildings in the small target area in Basel is shown in Figure 14.

62

Figure 13. Fragility curves (left) and probability density functions of the fundamental frequencies (right) of the three building classes.

CONCLUSIONS

A simple evaluation method was developed within the scope of the earthquake scenario project for Switzerland that allows the assessment of the seismic vulnerability of

existing buildings. The method is based on a nonlinear static approach acknowledging

the importance of the nonlinear deformation capacity of the buildings subjected to seismic action. The main advantages of the method are summarized briefly:

without neglecting important features such as the nonlinear deformation capacity of the buildings and the coupling of the walls by floors and spandrels.

63

Figure 14. Design displacement spectrum proposed by the Swiss standard for zone 3a and corresponding damage distribution for the buildings in the small target area.

Since reinforced concrete buildings and unreinforced masonry buildings are

considered in the same way, it is possible to evaluate buildings with a mixed

structure of reinforced concrete elements and unreinforced masonry elements.

In a further step, it is also possible to consider certain upgrading strategies by an

appropriate change in the capacity curves of the walls, thus changing the capacity curve of the building.

The proposed method is rather more detailed than other analytical approaches developed for the evaluation of a whole building population (Calvi 1999, DAyala et al.

1997). This is due to the lack of experience with earthquake damage in Switzerland requiring a more precise analysis, which allows a better understanding of the behavior of

the buildings under seismic action. The proposed method is therefore suitable for regions

with moderate seismicity for which no damage observations exist.

The time required for the evaluation of a building ranges between two and six hours.

It is thus not feasible to evaluate each individual building in a large target area, even

though a relatively large number of buildings can be evaluated. Hence, unlike the other

analytical approaches proposed by Calvi and DAyala et al. where each building is

evaluated, a classification of the buildings is necessary in order to allow the extrapolation of the results for the use in earthquake scenario projects.

64

With regard to the evaluation of an individual building using detailed analysis procedures, certain simplifications were necessary in order to reduce the time expenditure.

Those simplifications concern especially the assumption of rigid diaphragms and ideal

floor-wall connections, and the neglect of torsion, interaction of adjacent buildings, and

pounding. The evaluation is therefore rather suitable for regular buildings. For very irregular buildings and for the purpose of the assessment of an individual building in order to decide on upgrading strategies, these simplifications have to be checked.

The results of the evaluation of the 87 buildings in the small target area in Basel

revealed that, assuming the design response spectrum for medium stiff soils proposed by

the Swiss Standard for zone 3a, 45% of the unreinforced masonry buildings behave inadequately, i.e., they would experience damage grade 4 (very heavy damage) and 5 (destruction) according to the EMS 98. Buildings with a mixed structure of reinforced concrete elements combined with unreinforced masonry elements behave even worse due to

bad configurations in plan and elevation. This suggests that the seismic risk for the city

of Basel is considerable. A statement on the actual seismic risk, however, is not yet possible without the knowledge of the local seismic hazard (research line 2 and 3 of the

scenario project); general assumptions on the seismic hazard may be misleading.

So far only residential buildings were considered; for the purpose of the earthquake

scenario project the next step would be to include office buildings, lifelines, essential

facilities, industrial facilities, and the old city center in order to be able to assess the risk

for the whole city of Basel.

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Chopra, A., 1995. Dynamics of StructuresTheory and Applications to Earthquake Engineering, Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 98 pp.

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