Following the L’Aquila earthquake in 2009, AFPS (French Association of Earthquake Engineering) sent a mission to investigate the effects of this earthquake (seismological, structural and societal aspects were investigated). It has been observed that most of the damaged buildings were generally irregular in plan and/or in elevation and that their design details were not suitable to take into account the seismic risk. The damaged structures were generally located in the vicinity of L’Aquila, in a square area of 400 km2. This article presents the main observations of this mission regarding the structural behaviour of typical buildings in the L’Aquila surrounding, and investigates the advantage of a capacity design analysis. A special consideration is given to soil configurations in this area and will be related to each structural approach.