ONLINE: Understanding & Advancing Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering Consequence Predictions

25 March 2020, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm


Event Information

Open to



Arash Nassirpour

Please note this event will be Online.
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Performance-based earthquake engineering has in many ways revolutionised the thinking about seismic engineering design and acceptable performance of buildings in earthquakes. It is now making its way into commercial engineering design and risk analysis practice, as engineers aim to design better-performing buildings, and holders of mortgage or insurance instruments try to better understand the risk they face from damage to associated buildings. Some parts of the calculations (e.g. structural response) have been extensively assessed and validated. There are few similar studies, however, that focus on the damage and loss predictions. The purpose of this work is to address this, by analysing, evaluating, and improving the damage and loss predictions. The specific PBEE methodology examined is the FEMA P-58 Seismic Performance Assessment Procedure.

The presentation will begin with an analysis of the FEMA P-58 damage and loss predictions, to understand how they are impacted by other parts of the calculations.  I will present a methodology to quantify the impact of available structural response data from seismic instrumentation on the quality of the damage and loss predictions. The second part of the presentation will focus on evaluating the loss predictions using data observed in previous seismic events, to understand the degree to which they reflect real-life consequences of earthquakes. I will discuss a methodology for evaluating the ability of FEMA P-58 component-level losses to predict damage observed for groups of buildings. The presentation will conclude with recommendations for improving the loss predictions, so that they better capture post-earthquake consequences beyond the individual building footprint. I will specifically introduce a framework for modelling business recovery that considers both building downtime as well as external factors, such as supply-chain and neighbourhood disruption. I will demonstrate how the collection of downtimes considered in this framework leads to better predictions of business recovery than current FEMA P-58 building recovery time models.

About the Speaker

Dr Gemma Cremen

Research Fellow at University College London

Gemma Cremen has been a Research Fellow in Earthquake Engineering at University College London since late 2019, where she is developing engineering-orientated decision-making tools to support the practical application of earthquake early warning systems in Europe. She was previously a Research Associate in Geophysics at the University of Bristol, where she developed novel methods to quantify the seismic hazard and risk associated with shale gas development in the UK. Her research interests include seismic hazard characterisation, probabilistic seismic risk analysis, and post-disaster resilience quantification. Findings from her research to date can be found in more than 10 journal and conference articles.

Gemma has degrees in Civil Engineering from Stanford University (M.S. 2016, Ph.D. 2019) and University College Cork, Ireland (B.E. 2014). Her awards include the Stanford Graduate Fellowship, the John A. Blume Research Fellowship, and the University College Cork Science and Engineering Graduate of the Year Gold Medal.