Original Research Paper

Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 467-490

First online:

A simplified approach for vulnerability assessment in moderate-to-low seismic hazard regions: application to Grenoble (France)

  • Philippe GuéguenAffiliated withMaison des Geoscience, LGIT, university of Grenoble, CNRSLCPC Email author 
  • , Clotaire MichelAffiliated withMaison des Geoscience, LGIT, university of Grenoble, CNRS
  • , Laele LeCorreAffiliated withMaison des Geoscience, LGIT, university of Grenoble, CNRS

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Due to the moderate seismic risks in France, the building vulnerability assessment methods developed for high seismic risk countries could not easily be used here because of their cost and the low-risk perception among the public and officials. A light vulnerability assessment method is proposed and tested in Grenoble (France), based on classes and scores provided in the GNDT method but simplified in terms of visual screening and number of structural parameters used. Compared to the RiskUE method, the damage obtained by our approach shows that 90% of buildings have residuals smaller than 0.2, i.e. one grade of the EMS98 damage scale. A large scale survey is devised and conducted among the inhabitants of Grenoble in order to collect the main structural parameters. By comparing the results from the survey to the historical urbanization of Grenoble and to expert surveys performed in two urban districts, the information useful for the light method of vulnerability assessment can be rapidly collected by non-experts reducing substantially the estimate cost. The average damage is then computed using the GNDT formula considering the probable intensities which could be observed in Grenoble (VII and VIII). The average damage reaches 0.4 in the oldest part of Grenoble mainly made of masonry buildings and 0.2 in reinforced concrete suburbs where reinforced concrete predominates. The results are a relative vulnerability assessment that provides useful initial information for the urban zones of Grenoble where the vulnerability is higher. This method can be used to classify the seismic vulnerability in wide seismic-prone regions to a fair degree of accuracy and at low cost.


Large scale assessment Grenoble Moderate hazard Quick survey Seismic risk Vulnerability assessment VULNERALP