Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 1185–1219 | Cite as

Implementing effects of site conditions in damage estimated at urban scale

  • Hamza DifEmail author
  • Djawad ZendaguiEmail author
  • Pierre-Yves BardEmail author
Original Research


Local site effects due to geotechnical conditions modify seismic motions on surface. This implies that during a given earthquake, buildings located on soft sites may experience a higher damage than similar buildings resting on nearby rock sites. The aim of this study is to provide an estimation of the influence of site conditions on the buildings damage distribution. We combine an approach adapted from the Hazus methodology for the assessment of building damage, with the Borcherdt non linear site amplification factors, that enable to characterize the high and low frequency amplification as a function of VS30 (the average shear wave velocity in the upper 30 m) and ground motion levels. Analysis of obtained results indicates that, seismic damage expressed by the normalized mean damage index depends not only on seismic shaking level and building typology but also on site conditions through the shear wave velocity proxy. A regression relationship is established between the seismic damage and both shaking levels and site conditions, aiming at presenting a simple, rapid tool for estimating this damage at urban areas. An index, the “damage increase ratio”, is proposed to quantify the increase of damage resulting from site effects, and its dependence on loading level and site conditions are quantified and discussed for the main building typologies present in Algeria. Depending on the building typology, the overall damage may vary within a range of 2–5 for moderate shaking (0.1 g) between hard rock and very soft soil, and within a range 1–1.5 for strong shaking (0.5 g). The reduction of the impact of site conditions with increasing shaking level is directly linked with the nonlinear soil behavior.


Local conditions Site effects Hazus Damage index Seismic risk 



Average shear wave velocity over the upper 30 m


Federal Emergency Management Agency


Hazard United-States


Peak ground acceleration


National Institute of Building Science


Probability of obtaining a specific level of damage ds for a given spectral displacement Sd


Cumulative normal distribution

\( \overline{S}_{d,ds} \)

Average displacement value corresponding to the damage state ds for a specific building typology


Standard deviation of displacement corresponding to the damage level ds, again for the considered, specific building typology


Slight damage


Moderate damage MD


Extensive damage


Complete damage


The Borcherdt nonlinear site amplification factors at short period


The Borcherdt nonlinear site amplification factors at intermediate period


Probability of damage of type i


Normalized mean damage index


Damage increase ratio due to site effects


Spectral acceleration


Period in second

Sa @ 0.3

Spectral acceleration (Sa) at 0.3 s

Sa @ 1

Spectral acceleration (Sa) at 1 s


Left corner period of the spectral plateau


Transition period between constant spectral acceleration and constant spectral velocity


Transition period from constant spectral velocity to constant spectral displacement


Moment magnitude


Corner frequency determined from Joyner and Boore relationship, as a function of moment magnitude


Uniform Building Code


National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program


Euro Code


Indian Standard code


Next generation ground motion attenuation relationships


Reference database for seismic ground-motion in Europe


Next generation ground motion prediction equations

ma and mv

Exponents vary as a function of input ground-motion level, in order to account for the non-linear soil behavior


Reference velocity


Seismic loss estimation using a logic tree approach


Unreinforced masonry buildings with low (URML) and medium (URMM) height


Concrete frame with unreinforced masonry infill walls with a low (C3L), medium (C3M) and high (C3H) height


Concrete shear walls with low (C2L), medium (C2M) and high (C2H) height


Elastic acceleration spectrum


Elastic displacement spectrum


Inelastic acceleration spectrum


Inelastic displacement spectrum


Ductility factor


Reduction factor due to the ductility


Transition period from constant spectral acceleration to constant spectral velocity


Standard deviation


Coefficient of determination


Shear modulus


Regression parameters for the mean damage index


Regression parameters for the increasing of the damage index



Part of this work has been supported by the project: “Prédiction du movement sismique et estimation du risqué sismique lié aux effets de site” 13MDU901 Tassili CMEP between Universities of Tlemcen (Algeria) and Grenoble (France). One of the authors (H. Dif) wishes to acknowledge the support of University of Djelfa. The authors wish to express their acknowledgment for these supports.

Supplementary material

10518_2018_512_MOESM1_ESM.docx (128 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 128 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Risk Assessment and Management Laboratory (RISAM), Faculté de TechnologieUniversité Abou BekrBelkaïdTlemcenAlgeria
  2. 2.Faculté de TechnologieUniversity of DjelfaDjelfaAlgeria
  3. 3.Institut de Sciences de la Terre (ISTerre), CNRS, IRD, IFSTTARUniversité Grenoble-AlpesGrenoble Cedex 9France

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