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A screening procedure for seismic risk assessment in urban building stocks

An effective step for seismic risk mitigation in large urban areas under high seismic risk is to identify the most vulnerable buildings that may sustain significant damage during a future earthquake. Once they are identified properly, existing seismic risks may be reduced either by retrofitting such buildings, or by replacing them with new buildings in view of a particular risk-mitigation planning strategy. A fast and simple seismic risk-assessment procedure for vulnerable urban building stocks is proposed in this study. It is basically a sidewalk survey procedure based on observing selected building parameters from the street side, and calculating a performance score for determining the risk priorities for buildings. Statistical correlations have been obtained for measuring the sensitivity of damage to the assigned performance score by employing a database consisting of 454 damaged buildings surveyed after the 1999 Duzce earthquake in Turkey. The results revealed that the proposed screening procedure provides a simple but effective tool for selecting those buildings that have significant damage risk. These buildings have to be subjected to a more detailed assessment for a final decision on their seismic risk level.