Improved seismic design of structures using risk-targeting and cost-minimization considerations

  • Athanasios Gkimprixis

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis addresses various topics in the context of seismic design of structures with risk and loss considerations. Three design philosophies are investigated: the one based on uniform-hazard spectra, the risk-targeting technique, and an approach that minimizes the life-cycle costs. While the "uniform-hazard" approach is embedded in most of seismic design regulations, many studies have highlighted the need for a more rigorous and explicit control of the structural performance and of the consequences of seismic damage, not only at the assessment but also at the design stage. Thus, in this context, the risk targeting philosophy has emerged and has been implemented in US regulations. This approach is thoroughly reviewed herein, together with alternative risk-targeting techniques. Various case studies and European-wide investigations are performed to compare the results obtained with the risk-targeting and the uniform hazard approaches, evaluate the strengths and limitations of the techniques, and show possible steps forward. Acknowledging the significant financial implications of earthquakes, more advanced frameworks have been developed to account also for losses from future earthquake events in the design. A life-cycle cost optimization technique that considers the initial construction costs and the expected losses is studied in this work. A benchmark building is designed and analysed for different seismic levels and the results are compared against those obtained with the uniform-hazard and the risk-targeting approaches. Subsequently, an investigation is carried out on how the epistemic uncertainty inherent in seismic hazard models influences the structural design and the attained risk and loss estimates. The topic is investigated through different case studies, while a simplified approach for modelling hazard uncertainty is introduced and applied across Europe.In addition to constructing frameworks that mitigate losses, earthquake engineering can provide guidance to help manage the incurred loss levels. Thus, the last part of this thesis looks at the seismic risk management via the mechanism of transfer of financial risk. A method to define loss-informed insurance premiums is presented and various investigations across Europe are performed to explore efficient insurance strategies.
Date of Award7 Jul 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorJohn Douglas (Supervisor) & Enrico Tubaldi (Supervisor)

Cite this