Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 335–365

Comparison of building damage scales and damage descriptions for use in earthquake loss modelling in Europe

Original Research Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10518-007-9057-y

Cite this article as:
Hill, M. & Rossetto, T. Bull Earthquake Eng (2008) 6: 335. doi:10.1007/s10518-007-9057-y


A review of damage scales for buildings is carried out with a view to assessing their suitability for use in earthquake loss modelling in Europe. A new ranking system is proposed to ‘score’ each scale. The ranking considers damage descriptions, building response factors, repair, cost of damage and ease of use, which are identified as the key characteristics required of damage scales used in loss modelling. The ‘hybrid’ RISK-UE damage scale (which uses a HAZUS-based approach) is seen to score high in the ranking, whilst ‘hybrid’ scales based on the EMS-98 damage scales perform poorly. However, it is found that none of the considered damage scales adequately satisfy all the criteria necessary for their use in European seismic loss estimation, especially with respect to inclusion of likely repair methods and damage costs. The development of cross-country loss models often involves using vulnerability curves or post-earthquake survey data that are commonly expressed in terms of different damage scales. Equivalence tables, showing the relationship between the damage states of each considered scale, are therefore also presented for the predominant structural systems in Europe.


Damage assessmentsDamage gradesDamage scalesEarthquake lossEuropeLoss estimationLoss modellingSeismic loss

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK