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Chapter 1: Buildings

STEP 1: RISK ASSESSMENT

 

A risk assessment analysis can be divided into the following five categories.  These categories of attributes apply to either a single facility, or a group of facilities taken together.  These categories are best seen as interactive, as information in one category can modify the interpretation of the information in another.  Risk needs to be understood in its totality.  The risk of an earthquake in a certain area only translates into a risk to the occupants or passers by of a building or structure if that structure is vulnerable to heavy damage or collapse from the particular shaking that can be generated at a particular site based on the interaction of local soil conditions with the earthquake.

The particular first-phase analysis described in FEMA 154 as the "Rapid Visual Screening" (RVS) is designed only to classify buildings comparatively in terms of degree of risk, so that those it shows at the top of the scale in terms of risk may be analyzed further.  This can help to conserve resources, while at the same time directing a community's mitigation efforts at its most vulnerable assets.

The links below provide an explanation of each of the five categories used in the information gathering process.  Below this list is a link to a downloadable spreadsheet that can be used in the field to carry out a "Rapid Visual Screening" which has been developed for this website from the paper-based version in FEMA 154. 

1. Upgrade priority: Building importance and use

2. National and Local Geological Seismic Risk

3. Building Structural Types

4. Year of construction

5. Building-specific load-path assets and shortcomings

The "Rapid Visual Screening" spreadsheet accessed by the link below has been constructed exclusively for this website, and is intended to help computerize the FEMA 154 paper and pencil-based form.  Eventually, a more sophisticated PDA-based RVS process is contemplated, but this spreadsheet may continue to be a useful addition, as it (1) requires no special software other than a Microsoft-Excel compatible spreadsheet program mounted on a PC or a Macintosh, and (2) is completely transparent with full opportunity for the user to add or change the modification factors to suit local conditions.

 

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Randolph Langenbach

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


FAX: 801-730-1616

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