Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Yue Li


Light-frame wood buildings are widely built in the United States (U.S.). Natural hazards cause huge losses to light-frame wood construction. This study proposes methodologies and a framework to evaluate the performance and risk of light-frame wood construction.

Performance-based engineering (PBE) aims to ensure that a building achieves the desired performance objectives when subjected to hazard loads. In this study, the collapse risk of a typical one-story light-frame wood building is determined using the Incremental Dynamic Analysis method. The collapse risks of buildings at four sites in the Eastern, Western, and Central regions of U.S. are evaluated. Various sources of uncertainties are considered in the collapse risk assessment so that the influence of uncertainties on the collapse risk of lightframe wood construction is evaluated. The collapse risks of the same building subjected to maximum considered earthquakes at different seismic zones are found to be non-uniform.

In certain areas in the U.S., the snow accumulation is significant and causes huge economic losses and threatens life safety. Limited study has been performed to investigate the snow hazard when combined with a seismic hazard. A Filtered Poisson Process (FPP) model is developed in this study, overcoming the shortcomings of the typically used Bernoulli model. The FPP model is validated by comparing the simulation results to weather records obtained from the National Climatic Data Center. The FPP model is applied in the proposed framework to assess the risk of a light-frame wood building subjected to combined snow and earthquake loads. The snow accumulation has a significant influence on the seismic losses of the building. The Bernoulli snow model underestimates the seismic loss of buildings in areas with snow accumulation.

An object-oriented framework is proposed in this study to performrisk assessment for lightframe wood construction. For home owners and stake holders, risks in terms of economic losses is much easier to understand than engineering parameters (e.g., inter story drift). The proposed framework is used in two applications. One is to assess the loss of the building subjected to mainshock-aftershock sequences. Aftershock and downtime costs are found to be important factors in the assessment of seismic losses. The framework is also applied to a wood building in the state of Washington to assess the loss of the building subjected to combined earthquake and snow loads. The proposed framework is proven to be an appropriate tool for risk assessment of buildings subjected to multiple hazards. Limitations and future works are also identified.