Opportunities with BIM for more resilient design against earthquakes

Opportunities with BIM for more resilient design against earthquakes

Building Information Modelling (BIM)

Technology provides more and more options to facilitate and accelerate the project processes in the construction sector, as in every field. BIM, which covers the design and construction stages of the projects as well as the usage processes of the building, is the most remarkable of these technologies.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is an integrated, digital process that provides coordinated and reliable information at all stages of a project, from design to operation. This process, in which the project data is created and managed in a 3-dimensional technological environment, covers the entire life cycle of the building, from its design to its demolition. BIM adds significant value and professionalism to projects, as it provides coordinated work and creates an environment of cooperation between architects, engineers and all other construction professionals.

The always changing construction industry

In the past, the construction industry, which was limited to the process of preparing drawings through 2D and computer-aided design (CAD), has moved on with the new generation information technology BIM. The cost and time consuming of traditional methods in the construction industry is a major disadvantage for those who work in the construction industry. Moreover, the error density of the results obtained by these methods also poses a significant problem. Before the BIM technology, there were inconsistencies in the drawings due to the lack of a common environment where architects, engineers and other professionals in the construction industry who took part in the project could work together. Therefore, the development of BIM as a versatile tool has changed and improved the way we evaluate the behavior of a structure throughout its lifecycle.

The unintended effects of earthquakes

Turkey is constantly experiencing the danger of earthquakes due to its location. The structures in this moving area are constantly under dynamic load and their strength is gradually decreasing. Especially the buildings built in the past years and with old regulations are at the forefront of this expected demolition process.

Some academics and engineers, who are aware of this danger but cannot fully scale it, are trying to develop various solutions. However, we observe that the existing building stock did not take or could not take the said solutions and measures against earthquakes for different reasons. If we can scale the effects, consequences and recovery process of the earthquake tragedy on humans and nature before it happens, we may have paved the way for more effective and economical solutions.

Opportunities with BIM for more resilient design against earthquakes

It has been proven that the earthquake is a result of the cycle of nature and the impossibility of preventing its occurrence. At this point, BIM technologies offer very suitable solutions to measure the negative effects of the earthquake. As the use of BIM technologies increases over time, digital twins of building stocks will be created. By simulating the most severe earthquakes ever experienced in a digital environment, we are able to scale earthquake processes in a wide range with the help of BIM technologies, from how much the structures will be damaged, what will be the loss of lives, the impact on nature and the cost of repairs to restore the damage. The purpose of this designed scenario is to see what can happen and to minimize the risks by producing more economical and safe solutions. We can examine this issue through the case study below.

The case study of BIM design for earthquake areas

In the article "Using BIM for the Evaluation of Seismic Performance of Education Buildings" published in IJSSE magazine, it has been shown that it is possible to have the structural and non-structural elements and contents of the building in a single file by using a model defined by BIM technologies.

Figure 1.1. View of Civil Engineering campus master plan with the location of the three building studied

Within the scope of this article, a study was conducted on the evaluation of seismic vulnerability of three buildings (Fig. 1.1) that make up the university complex of the Faculty of Civil Engineering of Lisandro Alvarado University in Italy. First, the structural or non-structural models of the existing buildings and their intended use are processed.

Figure 1.2. Modeled building B

The structures whose modeling process has been completed have been subjected to static and dynamic nonlinear analysis using Opensees and the hazards that the buildings will pose against earthquake forces in the x-y direction have been revealed.

The FEMA P58 methodology, used with the BIM software, enables building owners to make appropriate decisions before devastating earthquakes occur, thereby preventing injuries and deaths, while revealing the economic losses and the cost required to make necessary repairs to the building.

Table 1.1. Consequences on the buildings determined according the methodology

As evidenced by this study, BIM;

• Greatly improves the quality and practicality of comprehensive seismic risk assessments by providing detailed information on the characteristics of structural and non-structural elements.

• Facilitates the diagnosis processes on the model before and after the earthquake.

• The ability to provide structural information after an earthquake without delay allows for faster assessment of buildings during post-earthquake investigations, allowing for more informed decisions to ensure structural safety while minimizing the need for inspectors to enter damaged buildings.

The number of projects made using BIM technologies is increasing day by day. Thanks to the digital twins of the buildings, problems are detected in advance and effective solutions are obtained. The damage and destruction of the earthquake, which is an unavoidable natural phenomenon, can only be reduced with the measures taken. BIM, which displays a holistic approach together with the 3D modeling system, is at the forefront of these measures with its capacity to provide detailed information.


Article in International Journal of Safety and Security Engineering · February 2020