Seismic Evaluation of Buildings

Dr.G.P.Ganapathy, VIT University, Vellore 632014, India


The Present activity provides the students to understand the vulnerability of their own houses. This exercise is part of the project based learning in a three credit subject called CLE 324 Natutal Disaster Mitigation and Management. Since the course is a University elective , students from different discipline will undergo this activity. So I made it a simplified methodology modified from FEMA 154.

Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications

Learning Goals

  • Students can understand the basics of seismic vulnerability analysis of buildings
  • They have to physically go to the building and do the survey
  • The output will be the very useful material for them whether they have to go for further retrofitting of their own houses or not
  • The activity is litlle related to civil engineering students, its good opportunity to discuss other disciplines students who undergoing this subject and they can easily do the exercise.
  • This analysis will give a idea of whether the students own house is safe from earthquakes, if it is not there, they can go for retrofitting of the house.
  • Ultimately students can apply their learning in to real life that too their own family.

Context for Use

The students are in undergraduate level from various disciplines of Engineering, like Civil, Mechanical, Computer Science, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Electronics and Communication Engineering, Biotechnology Etc.,

The total strength of the class is 65.

This is part of the Project based learning system in a FFCS Course.The total time for this activity is one month. This activity will be taught in the class as part of earthquake risk Mitigation Chapter. Since the activity is for the seismic evaluation of the students their own home, Students shows more interest.

Description and Teaching Materials

Teaching Notes and Tips

The activity based on FEMA 154, Guidelines for Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings, which is modified for our Indian Conditions. Because the Indian buildings are varies from US buildings and also our Indian building codes are different from US codes.


The students will be evaluated based on their results and the interest showing in bringing the lay outs. And there will be presentation of the students how they did the survey.

References and Resources