Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil Engineering


Structural Engineering

Committee Chair

Charles Camp

Committee Member

Shahram Pezeshk

Committee Member

Stephanie Ivey


A study of buildings in Shelby County, Tennessee and Tipton County, Tennessee was conducted using a sidewalk survey procedure developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), known as a Rapid Visual Survey (RVS). Its purpose is to identify buildings that are potentially at risk to a seismic event. A database of these buildings was generated from the data gathered in the RVS procedure. A loss estimation program developed by FEMA, known as HAZUS-MH MR3, was used to perform a more detailed analysis on the structures utilizing user defined ground motion maps. A rank of the structures was developed based upon the RVS procedure and the HAZUS output.FEMA developed HAZUS-MH MR3 which estimates structural and non-structural losses for a variety of hazards. In this study, three earthquake scenarios were analyzed: a magnitude 6.5 earthquake based upon site-specific ground motion maps, a magnitude 7.7 earthquake based upon site-specific ground motion maps, and a magnitude 7.7 earthquake based upon ground motion maps provided by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). All of these ground motion maps simulate a desired earthquake scenario to perform a loss estimate of the buildings; however, the site-specific, user-supplied maps have many more unique ground motion parameters than the USGS maps. HAZUS provides loss estimates by computing damage state probabilities for each building. One objective of this research is to develop a prioritization of the structures based upon building performance from the HAZUS loss estimate and the RVS procedure, which has a possible application to air emergency planners in selecting suitable locations to be used as mass population shelters in the case of a seismic event. The second objectiveof this research is to assess how well the RVS procedure performs in identifying structures which may be seismically at risk as compared to the HAZUS output by performing a statistical analysis and hypothesis testing on the data. The results of this objective can be utilized in determining if the RVS procedure is suitable for the seismic evaluation of structures or it a more detailed, site specific analysis should be performed using hazard software like HAZUS. The third objective is to investigate how the building type and the construction time period of structures affect the results of HAZUS and the RVS using statistical analysis. The results of the third objective can help in determining which construction materials perform better in a seismic event, which can have structural design applications for regions of high seismicity. The last objective is to examine how the effects of site specific ground motion maps compare with those provided by the USGS, in HAZUS loss estimates.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.