Services / Inspections / Seismic Assessments

PVE’s Structures Team can help you to understand and minimize your exposure to seismic risks.

Seismic Assessments and Retrofits can help property owners, tenants, investors, lenders and others to understand, control and minimize risks. Earthquakes can cause destruction to buildings and building materials, creating safety hazards that could potentially cause damage, injury or death. Other risk factors include loss of inventory, disruption of operations and cash flow, interruption of utility and public services, just to name a few.

Many cities are adopting seismic inspection and retrofitting ordinances geared toward their own city and needs. Your requirements and needs depend on your location. These ordinances along with the age and condition of each building will drive the level of study required for each building. PVE offers varied services to assist with Seismic Inspections and Construction Support:

Preliminary Screening Tools

Two screening tools are generally used to determine when an assessment is needed. Regions that have greater potential for damaging earthquakes have more stringent requirements. In the U.S, two screening tools can be used. One is Seismic Zones, which focuses on earthquake loss estimates in seismic zones 3 and 4 and require Probable Maximum Loss assessments. The second is Peak Ground Acceleration, a more modern tool based on site-specific ground acceleration. Some lenders require Probable Maximum Loss for properties with peak ground acceleration of more than 0.15g based on a 10% probability of exceedance in 50 years, but other thresholds may be appropriate depending on your risk. 

Scopes of Work

Seismic Risk Assessment
Seismic Risk Assessment is based on ordinances, locations and the assessment of Probable Maximum Loss. Some building owners may be concerned with damage to structures which can result in financial losses. Even a small earthquake can result in injury and the potential loss of life. 

ASTM E2026-16a Standard Guide for Seismic Risk Assessment of Buildings, a publication of ASTM International, identifies various levels of assessments that allows building owners and structural professionals to determine appropriate scopes of work and goals. The Guide describes levels of assessment for the evaluation of Seismic Ground Motion, Site Stability, Building Stability, Building Damageability, Building Content Damageability, and Business Interruption. PVE can assist you in determining the level of assessment required for your building along with potential risks.

Probable Maximum Loss Assessment
Probable Maximum Loss assessments provide an estimation of building damage based on statistics utilizing user-defined risk parameters. The assessment can be part of a broader determination of seismic risks or can be used to identify buildings at increased risk of significant damage from a seismic event. These assessments are also performed in accordance with the ASTM Guidelines.

We Can Help!

PVE can assist you with the right assessment for your property, which assessment is required by your lender, the regional potential for earthquakes or risk tolerance.

To arrange for an examination, or if you have any questions regarding the process, contact our office on 628-243-6445 or email