Assessing fragility functions of unreinforced masonry buildings


  • Fouzia Djaalali
  • Mahmoud Bensaibi



URM building, seismic action, fragility function, vulnerability index, Damages, GIS


The seismic vulnerability entrenched within the historical urban landscapes of Algeria serves as a poignant reminder of the pressing need for comprehensive risk management strategies, particularly concerning low and medium height unreinforced masonry (URM) structures. These architectural gems, rich in cultural significance, stand as tangible embodiments of Algeria's storied past. However, their susceptibility to seismic disturbances presents an immediate threat, demanding meticulous attention and innovative methodologies for effective risk assessment and mitigation. In a pioneering scholarly pursuit, this research embarks on an ambitious exploration, melding fragility functions and a sophisticated vulnerability index method to unravel the intricate tapestry of seismic risk assessment. Through the lens of fragility functions, the study delves into a nuanced analysis, probabilistically delineating the vulnerabilities entrenched within the complex framework of URM buildings. Furthermore, the meticulous derivation of vulnerability functions via the vulnerability index method enhances the granularity of risk assessment, providing a multifaceted perspective to discern vulnerabilities accurately. Central to this investigation is the Belouizdad district, a microcosm of historical significance nestled within the vibrant metropolis of Algiers. By scrutinizing seismic scenarios spanning a spectrum of intensities (ranging from VII to X), the study orchestrates a symphony of empirical data and analytical prowess, unraveling the potential seismic reverberations poised to impact the district's architectural heritage. In essence, this scholarly endeavor transcends the confines of mere academic pursuit, serving as a guiding light illuminating the path towards tailored seismic reduction policies. It stands as a clarion call to safeguard Algeria's architectural patrimony, fostering resilience amidst the tremors of uncertainty and ensuring the preservation of its cultural legacy for generations to come.


M. Dolce, A. Kappos, A. Masi, G. Penelis, and M. Vona, Vulnerability assessment and earthquake damage scenarios of the building stock of Potenza (Southern Italy) using Italian and Greek methodologies,Engineering Structures28 (2006) 357–371.

S.M. Senel, and A.H.Kayhan, Fragility based damage assessment in existing precast industrial building: Acase study for Turkey, Structural Engineering and Mechanics. 34(1) (2010) 39-60.

D. Benedetti, and V. Petrini, On the seismic vulnerability of masonry buildings: proposal of year procedure evaluation, The Industry of Constr. 18 (1984) 66-78.

D. Benedetti, G. Benzoni and M.A. Parisi, Seismic vulnerability and risk evaluation for old urban nuclei, Earth.Eng. and Struc. Dyn. 16 (1988) 183-201.

M. Bensaibi, F. Djaalali, I. Belheouane, O. Amellal and N. Yousfi, Seismic vulnerability index method: Algerian case studies. In: 8th International Conference on Urban Earthquake Engineering. (2011) Tokyo, Japan.

S. Giovinazzi, S. Lagomarsino and A. Penna, Seismic Risk Scenarios: Typological and Mechanical Approach in Vulnerability Assessment, Geophysical Research Abstract. 5 (2003) 09910.

Risk-UE, An advanced approach to earthquake risks scenarios with to applications different European towns, WP4: Vulnerability of current buildings. Evk4-ct-2000-00014, (2003).

T. Srikanth, R.P. Kumar, A.P. Singh, B.K. Rastogi and S. Kumar, Earthquake vulnerability assessment of existing buildings in Gandhidham and Adipur cities Kachchh, Gujarat (India), European.Journal of Scientific Research. 41 (3) (2003). 336-353.

R. Vicente, S. Parodi, S. Lagomarsino, H. Varum, D.A. Mendes and J.A.R. Silva, Seismic vulnerability assessment, damage scenarios and loss estimation case study of the old city centre of Coimbra Portugal. In: 14th Wold Conference on Earthquake Engineering. (2008) Beijing, China.

S. Lagomarsino and G. Magenes, Evaluation and reduction of the vulnerability of masonry buildings. The state of Earthquake Engineering Research in Italy: the ReLUIS-DPC 2005-2008 Project. G. Manfredi and M. Dolce (eds), 1-50 (2009).

F. Braga, M. Dolce and O. Liberator, A statistical study one damaged buildings review of the Msk-76 scale,. In: Proceedings of the Seventh European Conference one Earthquake Engineering. (1982).Athens, Greece.

Coburn and R. Spence, Earthquake Protection. Chichester, Great Britain: John Wiley and Sons (1992).

S.W. Cole, Y. Xu and P.W. Burton, Seismic hazard and risk in Shanghai and estimation of expected building damage, Soil Dyn. and Earthq. Eng. 28 (2008) 778–794.

J.R. Huo, R.S. Lawson and N.G. Kishi, Translation of earthquake vulnerability functions. In: Eleventh European Conference on Earthquake Engineerin. (1998) Balkema.

R.V. Whitman, J.W. Reed and S.T. Hong, Earthquake damage probability matrices. In: Proceedings of the Fifth World Conference on Earthquake Engineering. (1974) 25-31, Rome, Italy.

ATC-13, Earthquake damage evaluation data for California.ATC-13. Applied Technology Council. Redwood city, California, (1985).

S. Lagomasino and S. Giovinazzi, Macroseismic and mechanical models for the vulnerability and damage assessment of current buildings, Bul. of Earthq. Eng. 4 (2006) 415-443.

M. Rota, A. Penna and G. Magenes, A methodology for deriving analytical fragility curves for masonry buildings based on stochastic nonlinear analyses, Eng. Struc. 32, (2010) 1312-1323.

L.C. Pagnini, R. Vicente, S. Lagomarsino and H. Varum, A mechanical model for the seismic vulnerability assessment of old masonry buildings, Earthquake and Structures. 2(1) (2011) 25-42.

M. Dolce, A. Masi, M. Marino and M. Vona, Earthquake damage scenarios of Potenza town (Southern Italy) including site effects, Bul. of Earthq. Eng. 1(1) (2003) 115–40.

M. Dolce, A. Kappos, A. Masi, A, G, Penelis and M. Vona, Vulnerability assessment and earthquake damage scenarios of the building stock of Potenza (Southern Italy) using Italian and Greek methodologies, Eng. Struc. 28 (2006) 357–371.

Martinelli, G. Cifani, G. Cialone, L. Corazza, A. Petracca and G. Petrucci, Building vulnerability assessment and damage scenarios in Celano (Italy) using a quick survey data-based methodology, Soil Dyn. and Earthq. Eng. 28(2008) 875– 889.

A.H. Barbat, L.G. Pujades and N. Lantada, Seismic damage evaluation in urban areas using the capacity spectrum method: Application to Barcelona, Soil Dyn. and Earthq. Eng. 28 (2008) 851–865.

Ansal, A. Kurkulus and G. Tonuk, Seismic Microzonation and earthquake damage scenarios for urban areas, Soil Dynamic and Earthquake Engineering. 30 (2010) 1319-1328.

L.F. Vida, M. Feriche, A. Ruiz and A. Ontiveros, Seismic vulnerability assessment of traditional unreinforced masonry buildings. The case of Granada city (Spain). In: Ninth International Workshop on Seismic Microzoning Risk Reduction. (2010) Cuernavaca, México.

Ansal, G. Akinci, M. Cultrera, V. Erdik and G. Pessin, Loss estimat in Istambul based on deterministic earthquake scenario, Soil Dynamic and Earthquake Engineering. 29(4) (2009) 699-709.

M. Erdik, K. Sesetyan, M.B. Demircioglu, U. Hancilar and C. Zulfikar, Rapid earthquake loss assessment after damaging earthquakes, Soil Dynamic and Earthquake Engineering. 31 (2011) 247–266.

J. Park, P. Towashiraporn, J.I. Craigm and B.J. Goodno, Seismic fragility analysis of low-rise unreinforced masonry structures, Journal of Engineering Stuctures. 31 (2009) 125-137.

NIBS-National Institute of building Sciences, HAZUS 99 Earthquake Loss Estimation Methodology, Technical manual. Washington, DC.

Y.K. Wen, B.E. Ellingwood, D. Veneziano and J. Bracci,Uncertainty modeling in earthquake engineering, Mid-America Earthquake Center Poject FD-2 Report (2003).

Saeidi, O. Deck and T. Verdel, Developpment of building vulnerability functions in subsidence regions from empirical methods, Journal of Engineering Stuctures. 31 (2009) 2275-2286.

M. Rota, A. Penna and G. Magenes, A methodology for deriving analytical fragility curves for masonry buildings based on stochastic nonlinear analysis, Journal of Engineering Structures. 32 (2010) 1312-1323.

R. Illampas, N. Kyriakides and D.C. Charmpis, Seismic Fragility Assessment of Traditional Adobe Masonry Buildings with Limited Stiffness. In: 16th European Conference on Earthquake Engineering. (2018) Greece.

V Despotaki Silva, S. Lagomarsino, I. Pavlova, J. Torres, Evaluation Of Seismic Risk On Unesco Designated Cultural Heritage Sites In Europe. In: 16th European Conference on Earthquake Engineering. (2018) Greece.

T. Cabrera1, G. Boulicaul, T. Hube, H.S. María, Empirical Fragility Curves For Masonry Houses Using Data From Two Earthquakes In Chile. In: 16th European Conference on Earthquake Engineering. (2018) Greece.

F. Djaalali, Détermination Des Courbes De Vulnérabilité Pour Le Bâti en Maçonnerie de la Capitale Alger (Algérie), D. Thesis. National School of Built and Ground Works Engineering, Algiers, Algeria (2013).

F. Djaalali, M. Bensaibi and N. Bourahla, Evaluation of the vulnerability index for unreinforced masonry structures, Applied Mechanics and Materials. 166-169 (2012) 1387-1390.

F. Djaalali, M. Bensaibi and N. Bourahla, Vulnerabilité sismique des structures en maçonnerie application à la ville d'Alger, Algérie Equipement. 49 (2011) 2-10.

F. Djaalali, M. Bensaibi and N. Bourahla and L. Davene, Vulnerability curves for masonry constructions Algiers case stud, Structural Engineering and Mechanics. 42(5) (2012) 609-629.

F. I. Belheouane and M. Bensaibi, Seismic vulnerability index for reinforced concrete construction in Algeria, Advanced Science Letter. 13 (2012) 364-368.

N. Yousfi and M. Bensaibi, Weighting assessment of vulnerability index parameters for reinforced masonry structures, Structural Engineering International. 27(1) (2012) 79-87.

O. Amellal and M. Bensaibi, Parametric study of the seismic vulnerability of steel structures and their vulnerability curves, Journal of Materials and Engineering Structures, (2020).

M.S. Williams and R.G. Sexsmith, Seismic damage indices for concrete structures A state-of-the-Art, Earthquake Spectra. 11(2) (1985) 319-349.



How to Cite

Djaalali, F., & Bensaibi, M. (2024). Assessing fragility functions of unreinforced masonry buildings. STUDIES IN ENGINEERING AND EXACT SCIENCES, 5(1), 821–846.