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Keywords:

  • seismic assessment;
  • masonry buildings;
  • uncertainty;
  • confidence factors;
  • modelling uncertainties;
  • knowledge levels

SUMMARY

The current formulation of Eurocode 8 Part 3 and the Italian building code for the seismic assessment of existing buildings accounts for epistemic (knowledge-based) uncertainties by means of the identification of knowledge levels with associated values of the so-called confidence factors, applied only as a reduction of material strengths. This formulation does not always produce consistent results and it does not explicitly account for other sources of uncertainty. The paper proposes a probabilistic methodology for the quantification of appropriately defined factors, allowing consideration of the different sources of uncertainty involved in the seismic assessment of masonry buildings by means of nonlinear static analyses. This simple approach, also including an alternative formulation of the confidence factors related with material properties, allows to obtain results which are consistent with the acquired level of knowledge and correctly account for the different sources of uncertainty without requiring to carry out any stochastic nonlinear analysis. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.