Using failure analysis tools to establish seismic resilience objectives for building components and systems

  • Mike W. Mieler Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, US
  • S.R. Uma GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • Judith Mitrani-Reiser Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, US


While modern building codes have proven effective at reducing casualties caused by structural collapse following several recent earthquakes, they have been less effective at preventing damage that can lead to loss of functionality, especially in ordinary buildings (e.g., offices, factories, hotels, etc.). Because the performance of these buildings can significantly impact community recovery and resilience, it is imperative that building codes expand their current focus on protecting life safety in rare earthquakes to include provisions and requirements that aim to prevent damage and minimize loss of functionality in more frequent events. Towards this end, this paper presents a conceptual framework that directly connects performance targets for structural and nonstructural components to global resilience objectives for an entire building. The framework uses fault trees, a common failure analysis tool, to: (1) model how damage to or failure of different components and systems within a building can affect overall building functionality, and (2) provide the quantitative underpinnings for deriving consistent performance targets for building components and systems. The paper then presents a demonstration of the proposed framework to study loss of functionality in a generic commercial building and derive a set of consistent performance targets for its structural and nonstructural components. Lastly, the paper discusses potential applications of the proposed framework, including providing risk-consistent foundations for future generations of building codes and engineering standards.


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How to Cite
Mieler, M. W., Uma, S., & Mitrani-Reiser, J. (2016). Using failure analysis tools to establish seismic resilience objectives for building components and systems. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 49(1), 86-97.