Unreinforced masonry (URM) structures have shown to be susceptible to significant damage during strong earthquakes. Vulnerability assessment of URM buildings is needed so that appropriate mitigation strategies can be implemented. The existing Canadian practice consists of rapid seismic screening of buildings to assign priorities for further and more refined assessments, followed by refined analysis of individual critical buildings. The current seismic screening procedure, from 1992, is based on qualitative observations of seismic vulnerability, enabling the assignment of seismic priority indices, quantified on the basis of expert opinion and experience. More refined tools are needed for seismic vulnerability assessment of URM buildings in Canada, based on the current Canadian seismic hazard values. The objective of the research project is to fulfill these needs by developing fragility curves that provide a probabilistic assessment of different levels of building performance under different intensities of eastern and western seismicity.

Using an inventory of over 50,000 structures, a seismic assessment of typical low-rise and mid-rise URM structures located in eastern and western Canada was carried out. The required analyses were done using applied element method software which effectively modeled the in-plane and out-of-plane behaviour of masonry walls. Using incremental dynamic analysis, fragility curves were developed to reflect the capacity of URM structures with a wide variety of selected structural and ground motion parameters. The results were verified against available fragility information in the literature. They show the significance of selected parameters, while providing effective tools for seismic vulnerability assessment of URM buildings in eastern and western Canada.

Belec, G (2016) Seismic Assessment of Unreinforced Masonry Buildings in Canada, Masters Thesis, Ottowa-Carleton Institute for Civil Engineering, University of Ottowa.

Translate »