This paper deals with the evaluation of seismic risk for commercial buildings in Memphis, Tennessee.

The seismicity of the area is summarized, and commercial buildings are divided into categories with regard to parameters such as number of stories, year of construction, assessed value, total floor area, and structural type. The distributions of these parameters are presented in the figures.

During the study, over 15 buildings were examined on site by a team of experts to evaluate their seismic resistances. The quality of the design, materials, and construction was found to be surprisingly good, particularly in those structures built since 1900.

Seismic resistance is analytically evaluated for five buildings: a four-story reinforced concrete frame; a four-story steel structure with vertical trusses; a 13-story stell frame; and two multi-story reinforced concrete frames. The loadings from four sources are considered: EI Centro and Taft earthquakes in California (1940 and 1952, respectively) and the forces specified in the 1979 UBC and 1981 BOCA codes. Ratios of load to capacity are calculated. For each building considered, the expected percentage of damage is evaluated for the two earthquakes. The damage prediction is extended to all commercial buildings in Memphis.

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