As an approach to the problem of seismic vulnerability evaluation of existing buildings through the predicted vulnerability method, analytical models can be applied to define the capacity curves of typical buildings which represent different building classes. These curves are then combined with the seismic demands to produce the vulnerability curves for each of the building classes according to the damage states definition. For some buildings types, mainly the masonry structures, the development of the capacity curve is complicated and time consuming if a finite element based method is used because the model has to represent the structural geometry and relationships between different structural elements through element connectivity. Moreover, the FEM is not able to properly represent large displacements and separations for progressive collapse simulations. Therefore, the Applied Element Method which combines the advantages of FEM with that of the Discrete Element Method in terms of accurately modeling a deformable continuum of discrete materials is used here to calculate the capacity curves for those challenging building classes. This leads to a better estimation of the lateral capacity of building classes under study. In order to overcome the uncertainty in the construction material properties for existing buildings, each model is run for a vast range of material properties and the Monte Carlo method is applied to obtain the capacity curves for each building class. These curves can then be used to compare the seismic response of different building classes with a specific seismic demand or to develop scores which correlate potential structural deficiencies with structural characteristics for different classes.

Karbassi A. and Nollet MJ.: Application of the Applied Element Method to the Seismic Vulnerability Evaluation of Existing Buildings, 6th Structural Specialty Conference, Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, Quebec City, QC, paper ST-401, June 2008.