The existing precast reinforced concrete structures, especially those not specifically designed against the earthquakes, have proved to be inadequate to withstand the remarkable seismic demands related to the presence of heavy roof elements. In fact, the cantilever columns entailing large top displacements and the poor devices adopted to connect different precast elements have shown high sensitivity to seismic actions. After the lesson learned from the recent Emilia earthquake of May 2012, causing many collapses and severe damage, reliable seismic design criteria have been established for the design of new precast structures and for the strengthening of the existing ones. Despite this, a large percentage of the existing precast buildings in the Italian territories actually has not been object of interventions and remains in an unsafe condition with regards to the seismic actions. In this context, the methods for a rapid seismic assessment can be very helpful both to estimate the current safety level of large building stocks and to plan the necessary strengthening interventions, possibly at the wide scale of an industrial area.
To this aim, the paper proposes a new method, named PRESSAFE-disp (PRecast Existing Structure Seismic Assessment by Fast Evaluation-displacements), for the fast evaluation of the fragility curves of precast structures. The method follows the approach of the PRESSAFE method, but different damage criteria have been introduced in order to take into account the relative displacements and the sliding between different precast elements. The damage criteria considered, applicable to both structural elements and perimeter cladding elements conceived as non-structural elements, have been properly selected in order to capture the damage mechanisms observed during the several building inspections conducted by the authors in the aftermath of the 2012 Emilia earthquakes.
In the present configuration, the method allows a comprehensive explanation of the seismic behaviour of the existing precast buildings and could be effectively adopted, for example, in earthquake loss estimations and seismic risk assessments of large Italian industrial areas, as well as of wide seismic-prone territories of the Mediterranean area.