Towards risk-targeted seismic hazard models for Europe

Giorgio Monti, Cristoforo Demartino, Paolo Gardoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Standards and Codes of Practice for designing new constructions and for assessing and strengthening existing ones are usually based on uniform hazard maps, where different Limit States (LSs) are associated with different hazard-exceedance probabilities. This approach yields non-homogeneous LS-exceedance probabilities across a territory, thus failing to achieve the goal of uniform risk throughout a territory. Such lack of uniformity stems from estimating the probability of failure using capacity and demand models. If the capacity of new constructions—or the capacity increase of strengthened existing constructions—are designed based on a prescribed hazard-exceedance probability, then the seismic risk depends on both the structure (depending on the design philosophy and corresponding design objectives), through the capacity model, and the location, through the hazard model. The aim of this study is threefold. First, it provides a seismic probability assessment formulation and a risk-targeted intensity measure based on a linear model in log–log coordinates of the hazard, under the assumption of log-normal capacity and demand. The proposed framework introduces a factor that multiplies the code hazard-based demand to account either for intentional (from design) over-capacity or for undesired (e.g., in existing constructions) under-capacity. Second, this paper shows an application to peak ground accelerations in Europe considering parameters taken from Standards and Codes of Practice. The developed framework is used to determine the risk-target levels of peak ground acceleration used for design in Europe, for both new and existing constructions. Third, the obtained target risk levels are used to determine a risk-based intensity modification factor and a risk-based mean return period modification factor, which can be readily implemented in current Standards to achieve risk-targeted design actions, with equal LS-exceedance probability across the territory. The framework is independent of the chosen hazard-based intensity measure, be it the commonly used peak ground acceleration or any other measure. The results highlight that in large areas of Europe the design peak ground acceleration should be increased to achieve the proposed seismic risk target and that this is particularly significant for existing constructions, given their larger uncertainties and typical low capacity with respect to the code hazard-based demand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10717
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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