NEHRP Clearinghouse

How Do We Evaluate and Choose Between Alternative Codes for Design and Performance.
de Neufville, R.
National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C. Research Applied to National Needs., February 1975, 38 p.
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The choice of a design code depends on the values we place on the benefits or costs of greater safety or higher performance. Experimental data demonstrate that the public's evaluation of any protection, against earthquake damage for example, is both a highly non-linear function of its level and of the level of other benefits, and varies between different elements of society. As shown by a case study, these facts mean that the most commonly discussed methods of evaluation for seismic codes - benefit-cost or risk-of-death analysis - may lead to incorrect and unacceptable recommendations. Criteria are proposed for deciding when approximate evaluations are appropriate and when a more complete assessment of the nonlinear values used by the different interest groups is required.
Seismic design; Earthquake resistant structures; Safety factor; Benefit cost analysis; Probability density functions; Seismic risk; Ground motion; Earthquake engineering; Buildings; Risk; Building codes; Seismic design decision analysis; Earthquakes