Review of the State of the Art in Assessing Earthquake-Induced Loss of Functionality in Buildings

M. W. Mieler, J. Mitrani-Reiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Earthquake-induced damage to the built infrastructure can generate enormous societal impact, ranging from displacement of individual families and businesses to disruption of entire economic sectors and public services. Consequently, engineers play a critical role in mitigating these cascading, multiscale earthquake impacts. A significant component in this effort involves designing buildings and other structures to avoid the types of damage that can lead to loss of functionality and downtime after an earthquake. Toward this end, this paper describes the state of the art in assessing earthquake-induced loss of functionality in individual buildings. More specifically, it details how earthquake-induced loss of functionality within the built infrastructure can generate multiscale impacts that cascade through a community across space and time. It also compiles from various sources a consistent hierarchy of definitions for building functionality, and examines the myriad combinations of events and failures that can impact it, culminating with the development of functionality-restoration curves that graphically depict how the availability of various building components and systems affect recovery. The paper then reviews, both recently developed analytical models for evaluating loss of functionality in individual buildings and also current practice for designing buildings to maintain or regain functionality after earthquakes. Lastly, the paper identifies several critical gaps in knowledge and areas of future research that need to be addressed in order for the engineering profession to, both design buildings to quickly regain functionality after a major earthquake and also more effectively communicate risk with community stakeholders (e.g., building owners, emergency managers, and city planners).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04017218
JournalJournal of Structural Engineering (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Built infrastructure
  • Disasters
  • Downtime
  • Fault trees
  • Functionality
  • Multiscale impacts
  • Resilience
  • Safety and reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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