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EARTHQUAKE DESIGN PROCEDURES

This paper reports the first step of a research project aimed at introducing soft computing techniques in the field of post-earthquake reconstruction. In April 2009, a disastrous earthquake struck the Italian city of L'Aquila, causing 309 deaths and damaging thousands of structures. As a result, Italian authorities established a regulatory framework for rebuilding process, which determines precise limitations for the seismic improvement of damaged buildings. According to this framework, a structural design final outcome, “eligible” or “not eligible”, depends on structural capacity and cost of works per square meter. The author, having worked to the seismic improvement of more than 10 RC and masonry structures damaged by the 2009 earthquake, believes that this evaluation system can be greatly improved through the use of simple soft computing tools. The goal of this work is to define a framework within which to build a fully automated methodology for decision support, with the aim of making the reconstruction process better. Fuzzy Logic seems to be the natural background for a methodology that aims to mimic the human expert judgment, in an environment where information is often vague and/or inaccurate.

Keywords: soft computing, seismic retrofitting, fuzzy logic.


BASIC SOFT COMPUTING TOOLS FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE ITALIAN AFTER EARTHQUAKE DESIGN PROCEDURES

 

Leonardo Rossi

Former PhD student: Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile ed Ambientale, Università degli Studi di Perugia, Italia

 

Introduction

This work is the very first step of a research project whose goal is introducing soft computing techniques in the Italian state of the art decision making procedures for structural recovery of buildings. It is the result of the experience gained by the author in designing structural intervention over 10 RC and masonry buildings damaged by the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake. Although the method described here may have general value in civil engineering, the point of view of buildings retrofitting is useful to illustrate a situation in which structural designers must operate within precise external limitations. After the L'Aquila earthquake, for the seismic improvement of buildings with “usability outcome E” (or “building unusable”, according to the classification given by the Italian Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri (PCM) 2009.b), considering the regulatory guidelines expressed in the documents “OPCM n. 3790 del 2009” (PCM 2009.c) and “Indirizzi per l'esecuzione degli interventi di cui all'Ordinanza del Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri n. 3790 del 17.7.2009“ (PCM 2009.a) was mandatory. In few words, within the complex regulatory framework determined by these three and other legal acts, two specific conditions emerge for the designer to be in compliance with for the seismic improvement of structures with capacity lower than 60% of regulations demand: the first one is about structural performance; it can be evaluated as the ratio between the capacity peak ground acceleration (PGA) and the demand PGA for the life safety limit state (in Italian indicated as “SLV”), both calculated according to technical standards in force (Ministero delle Infrastrutture 2008 & 2009). The second condition is a limitation of cost of intervention per square meter.

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