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Chapter 1: Buildings

1A: RISK ASSESSMENT - Importance

 

A.  Upgrade priority: Building importance and use.

1. Is the building of historic importance? (I.e., eligible for the National Register?

  • a: If yes, is it historic for its architectural or intrinsic cultural value for its design, technology or craftsmanship?

  • b: If yes, is it historic because of its role in history unrelated to its design or construction (i.e., a birthplace or importance as a place where something happened in social or political history)?

    • Priority:  Overall, the identification that a building is historically or culturally significant should play a role in the decision over seismic hazard mitigation priorities within a community.
    • Retrofit methodology:  Affirmative answers to these questions provide information that can help in determining priorities for seismic retrofit.  Other factors that come from the Assessment will be helpful in determining how to handle the particular building.  For example, in the case of (1a) above, decisions on upgrade methodology can have a great impact on historic fabric by damaging or removing it in the process of undertaking the upgrade work, or failing to protect it in the event of a future earthquake.  In the case of (1b), the focus may be better placed on the protection of the contents of the structure - that is the historical artifacts that are actually related to the historical event or person being commemorated.  Mitigation work to accomplish this may be shaped by such objectives.  For example, strengthening such a building with shear walls may also stiffen it - and thus increase the possibility of moveable objects being thrown off their pedestals.

2. Is the building heavily used by people?

  • Is it occupied day and night by significant numbers of people?

  • Is it open to the public, and likely to be used regularly by large numbers?

  • Is it occupied on a regular basis by children?

  • Is it a critical facility, such as a fire station, police station, communications center, or hospital with critical care and emergency room facilities?

Return to RISK ASSESSMENT list

 

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Randolph Langenbach

M-Arch (Harvard), Dipl.Conservation (York, England)


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