This article presents the main results of the validation phase of the PRENOLIN project. PRENOLIN is an international benchmark on 1D nonlinear (NL) site‐response analysis. This project involved 19 teams with 23 different codes tested. It was divided into two phases; with the first phase verifying the numerical solution of these codes on idealized soil profiles using simple signals and real seismic records. The second phase described in this article referred to code validation for the analysis of real instrumented sites.
This validation phase was performed on two sites (KSRH10 and Sendai) of the Japanese strong‐motion networks KiK‐net and Port and Airport Research Institute (PARI), respectively, with a pair of accelerometers at surface and depth. Extensive additional site characterizations were performed at both sites involving in situ and laboratory measurements of the soil properties. At each site, sets of input motions were selected to represent different peak ground acceleration (PGA) and frequency content. It was found that the code‐to‐code variability given by the standard deviation of the computed surface‐response spectra is around 0.1 (in log10 scale) regardless of the site and input motions. This indicates a quite large influence of the numerical methods on site‐effect assessment and more generally on seismic hazard. Besides, it was observed that site‐specific measurements are of primary importance for defining the input data in site‐response analysis. The NL parameters obtained from the laboratory measurements should be compared with curves coming from the literature. Finally, the lessons learned from this exercise are synthesized, resulting also in a few recommendations for future benchmarking studies, and the use of 1D NL, total stress site‐response analysis.