Natural Hazards

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 33–54 | Cite as

Feasibility of pre-earthquake strengthening of buildings based on cost-benefit and life-cycle cost analysis, with the aid of fragility curves

  • Andreas J. KapposEmail author
  • E. G. Dimitrakopoulos
Original Paper


There are two fundamental questions this article aims to deal with. First, whether a pre-earthquake strengthening of a large and heterogeneous building stock (the emphasis here is on building types common in S. Europe), is economically feasible or not, and second what is the optimal retrofit level for mitigating the seismic risk. To this purpose contemporary decision making tools, namely cost-benefit and life-cycle cost analyses, are tailored to the needs of the present study, and implemented with the aid of an ad-hoc developed new software application (COBE06). A method for estimating the reduction in structural vulnerability due to retrofit is proposed, as well as a methodology to determine the optimum retrofit level using the fragility curve approach. Finally, the proposed methodology is used in a pilot application that concerns the city of Thessaloniki, and results are drawn for the feasibility of strengthening the reinforced concrete building stock in this city.


Benefit-cost analysis Pre-earthquake strengthening Reinforced concrete buildings Life-cycle cost analysis 



Central damage index (of kth damage state)


Damage probability matrix


Damage state


Statistics agency of Greece


Federal emergency management agency (USA)


Fiber reinforced polymers


Modified mercalli intensity


Mean damage factor


Peak ground acceleration


Reinforced concrete


Retrofit level


Statistical value of human life



Large part of the work presented herein was carried out within the framework of the research programme ARISTION (“Seismic vulnerability assessment of existing buildings and development of advanced materials and strengthening techniques”) funded by the General Secretariat for Research of the Greek Government. The writers would also like to acknowledge the contribution of Mr I. Vlachos (member of the ARISTION research group) for providing data to the present study, as well as suggestions based on his experience with building insurance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringAristotle University of Thessaloniki ThessalonikiGreece

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