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Published April 2016 | public
Journal Article

Virtual Inspector and its application to immediate pre-event and post-event earthquake loss and safety assessment of buildings


We previously introduced the Virtual Inspector, which is a decision-support system that follows current US guidelines for post-earthquake damage and safety evaluation of buildings in order to calculate probabilities that a building will be tagged with red, yellow or green safety placards after earthquake shaking of the building. The procedure is based on an existing probabilistic methodology for performance-based earthquake engineering that involves four analysis stages: hazard, structural, damage and loss analyses. In this paper, we propose to integrate the Virtual Inspector into an automated system for immediate pre- and post-earthquake loss and safety assessment in a building. This system could be combined with an earthquake early warning system to assist in an automated decision analysis for initiating safety and loss mitigation actions just before the arrival of earthquake shaking at the building site. The Virtual Inspector can also be used immediately after strong earthquake shaking to provide an automated probabilistic safety and loss assessment to support risk decision making related to possible building closure and the cost of recovery to bring the building back to an operating condition. The proposed theory for these extensions of the Virtual Inspector is illustrated using an example based on a previously studied benchmark office building.

Additional Information

© 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Received: 24 April 2015; Accepted: 08 January 2016; First Online: 25 January 2016. The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from the George W. Housner Graduate Fellowship from the California Institute of Technology and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Grant to the California Institute of Technology. Part of this work was originally supported by the Earthquake Engineering Research Centers Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) under award number EEC-9701568 through the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center. Opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of NSF.

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