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Quick Overview of New Seismic Risk Form Now Required By ASTM

What is the purpose of this appendix, and what do you need to know about it?

ASTM recently published revisions to E2026 Standard Guide and E2557 Standard Practice for assessing seismic risk to buildings. Among other changes, E2557-16a now recommends the inclusion of a new appendix, X5, to help clients better understand the limitations of probable maximum loss studies.

What’s in the Form?

The form begins with a reminder that seismic risk assessments are performed for specific clients and for specific purposes. They may not meet the needs of other clients and should never be used for anything other than the intended purpose. Not surprisingly, the appendix recommends that the assessment be based on the referenced ASTM standards. The standards provide a sound basis for describing the work, and terminology included in ASTM E2026 has become increasingly accepted in the industry. This improves the transparency of evaluations, so is useful for users to describe that they need and consultants to describe their assessment and conclusions.

Form Guidance

General guidance concerning what to look for in reports includes:

  • Property information and description of buildings
  • Review of seismic hazards at the site
  • A list of documents reviewed such as design drawings
  • The level of Review provided by the report
  • Estimation of building loss, including the specific loss definition
  • Identification of the analysis and methods used to determine loss
  • Evaluation of building stability (collapse potential) and methods used to reach opinion, and
  • Qualifications of the senior and field assessors who completed the work.

Levels of Assessment

An understanding of the level of investigation performed is also important to interpreting Probable Maximum Loss Reports. ASTM E2026 defines three to four levels of assessment in five different categories: ground shaking, site stability, building damageability, content damageability, and business interruption.

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