Assessment of the settlement vulnerability of masonry buildings

Giorgia Giardina, Max A N Hendriks, Jan G Rots

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding


Excavation works in urban areas require a preliminary risk damage assessment. In historical cities, the prediction of building response to settlements is necessary to reduce the risk of damage of the architectural heritage. The current method used to predict the building damage due to ground deformations is the Limiting Tensile Strain Method (LTSM). In this approach the building is modelled as an elastic beam subjected to imposed Greenfield settlements and the induced tensile strains are compared with a limit value for the material. These assumptions can lead to a non realistic evaluation of the damage. In this paper, the possibility to apply a settlement risk assessment derived from the seismic vulnerability approach is considered. The parameters that influence the structural response to settlements can be defined through numerical analyses which take into account the nonlinear behaviour of masonry and the soil-structure interaction. The effects of factors like material quality, geometry of the structure, amount of openings, type of foundation or the actual state of preservation can be included in a global vulnerability index, which should indicate the building susceptibility to damage by differential settlements of a given magnitude. Vulnerability curves will represent the expected damage of each vulnerability class of building as a function of the settlement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBuilding materials and building technology for preservation of the built heritage
Subtitle of host publication1st WTA-International PhD symposium
EditorsL Schueremans
Place of PublicationLeuven, Belgium
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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