Seismic Performance of Reinforced Concrete Frame Buildings in Southern California

Abbie B. Liel, Kathryn P. Lynch, & Kristen L. Rowe

Published 2011, SCEC Contribution #1357

This study examines the impact of the ShakeOut earthquake on reinforced concrete (RC) frame structures in Southern California. The assessment uses synthetic ground motions and nonlinear dynamic analysis to evaluate 20 RC frame buildings hypothetically located at 735 sites throughout the region. Results show that older nonductile RC frame structures may collapse at 8% to 32% of the sites analyzed, especially in Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino. Modern code-conforming RC frame structures are predicted to collapse at fewer sites (1–11%), but modern midrise construction may be vulnerable in Los Angeles due to rupture directivity and basin effects. These seismic performance metrics can inform the development of policies for emergency response and for mitigating earthquake-induced collapse of existing RC frame buildings. The study further provides a prototype that can be used in developing future scenario studies that will benefit from ongoing research to improve building and seismological models.

Liel, A. B., Lynch, K. P., & Rowe, K. L. (2011). Seismic Performance of Reinforced Concrete Frame Buildings in Southern California. Earthquake Spectra, 27(2), 399-417. doi: 10.1193/1.3570684.