DOI: 10.1002/eqe.3984 ISSN: 0098-8847

Risk‐targeted seismic evaluation of functional recovery performance in buildings

Kristen Blowes, Pouria Kourehpaz, Carlos Molina Hutt
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


Past earthquakes have highlighted the impact of prolonged downtime on community recovery. The introduction of performance objectives expressed in terms of recovery time has been identified as a key goal for the next generation of building codes. Recent development of downtime estimation frameworks now allows for the discussion of how to use recovery time estimates to (1) establish recovery‐targeted performance and (2) assess the functional recovery performance of buildings designed with modern code provisions. In this paper, we employ methods adapted from life‐safety provisions to evaluate building functional recovery performance using downtime simulation outputs. A scenario‐based, an intensity‐based and a risk‐targeted analysis of functional recovery performance objectives are presented. The functional recovery performance of a series of modern residential reinforced concrete shear wall archetype buildings, ranging from eight to 24 stories in height, at a site in downtown Seattle, Washington, are then assessed. Results of the scenario‐based assessment of an M9 Cascadia Subduction zone earthquake, comparable to an intensity‐based assessment at the 975‐year intensity level, show that the probability of achieving functional recovery within four months is close to zero, while the likelihood of achieving functional recovery by one year is approximately 60%. The results of the risk‐targeted assessment of the archetype buildings show a 50% probability in 50 years of the building downtime to functional recovery exceeding one month, a 43% in 50‐year probability of the downtime exceeding four months and an 8% in 50‐year probability of downtime exceeding one year. Finally, the expected annual downtime is approximately three days for all building heights considered. Disaggregation was used to identify intensity levels that contribute most of the downtime risk. The risk of downtime exceeding one month to one year is dominated by frequent, low‐intensity earthquakes (e.g., 100‐year return period). The risk of exceeding longer recovery times is dominated by less frequent, higher intensity earthquakes (i.e., return periods greater than 975 years). While the results of the analysis are sensitive to assumed damage thresholds and impeding factor delays triggered at low intensity levels, the findings suggest that reinforced concrete shear wall buildings designed following current building codes have a high risk of lengthy downtimes. Ultimately, the proposed methods and results illustrate the importance of introducing recovery‐based provisions into the next generation of building codes.

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