Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Keith Porter

Second Advisor

Nicolas Luco

Third Advisor

Ross Corotis

Fourth Advisor

Abbie Liel

Fifth Advisor

Shideh Dashti


Nonstructural building components account for the majority of building construction cost and as a result, their damage in earthquakes can dominate repair costs. The relationships between earthquake excitation and repair cost for nonstructural components are sometime depicted in seismic vulnerability functions. These relationships can be used at the level of individual buildings, as in ATC-58 (Applied Technology Council 2012), but there is also a need for such relationships at the level of building categories, for use in societal-level risk modeling. This work addresses the latter problem. There are several ways to address the problem: 1) by empirical means (relating aggregate nonstructural loss to ground motion through regression analysis); 2) by analytical means (relating structural response to component-level damage, which is then related to repair costs); and 3) by expert opinion. This work deals with analytical means. There is a growing library of component-level fragility functions for nonstructural components, and at least in the United States, an extensive database of costs for performing repairs. These enable the development of analytical relationships between structural response and nonstructural loss. Our intention is to produce and illustrate a method for developing broadly applicable analytical seismic vulnerability functions for non-structural components of buildings defined only by broad categories of material, lateral force-resisting system, and height. The methodology is developed with collaboration and supervision of Professor Keith Porter at the University of Colorado Boulder and is intended for use as a guideline by the Global Earthquake Model.

A central challenge in such an effort is that the source data can be highly detailed. These detailed elements must be aggregated to systems and thence to all nonstructural components. So we (the present author with assistance and feedback form collaborators in the GEM project) have developed the methodology with a broad-brush approach, using cost manuals to identify the 4 or 5 systems that contribute the most cost to a typical building of the given category, and determining from a modest sample of buildings within the category of interest the detailed components that appear to be most common within those systems.