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Earthquake Resistant Design of Buildings (CVEN90017)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeCVEN90017
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


This subject introduces the fundamental concepts and practice of earthquake resistant design of buildings from an international perspective, incorporating consideration of design in regions of low to moderate seismicity such as Australia and in regions of high seismicity. The design of economically and environmentally feasible structures that can successfully withstand the forces and displacements generated by severe ground motions is a challenge demanding the best in structural engineering art and science. This subject builds on knowledge of Risk Analysis, Engineering Mathematics, Dynamics, and Structural Theory and Design to allow candidates to work as a supervised graduate engineer in this specialised area of practice.


Topics covered include plate tectonics and seismicity, structural response to earthquake ground motions, design philosophy and design applications to buildings, assessment and retrofitting of existing buildings, and performance of non-structural components and building contents.

Intended learning outcomes


On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Describe seismicity of the world and the role of plate tectonics
  2. Accurately interpret response spectra presented in the different formats including the Acceleration-Displacement Response Spectrum (ADRS) diagram for quantifying potential seismic hazards on infrastructure
  3. Accurately interpret performance limit states
  4. Undertake seismic design and assessment of building structures using both the force-based methods and displacement-based methods including the Capacity Response Spectrum Method and the Substitute-Structure Method. The implementation of measures to improve environmental sustainability will be discussed in relation to design
  5. Employ capacity design principles and the concept of strength hierarchies to ensure that the structure responds to an earthquake in the desirable way. Apply this concept to the design of a range of structural systems for buildings including moment resisting frames of reinforced concrete, steel and composite construction, reinforced concrete structural walls, and concentric or eccentrically braced steel frames
  6. Select and apply the appropriate energy dissipation or base-isolation device for mitigating seismically induced damage to a building
  7. Predict damage to un-reinforced masonry buildings and identify the vulnerable features
  8. Assess existing building structures and provide plans for their effective retrofitting
  9. Assess seismic performance of vulnerable buildings and components in regions of low and moderate seismicity taking into account the effects of soil resonance and identify effective means of retrofitting
  10. Assess seismic performance of non-structural components and building contents and identify effective measures to mitigate potential damage.

Generic skills

  • Ability to apply knowledge of science and engineering fundamentals
  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation, and solution
  • Ability to utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operational performance
  • Proficiency in engineering design
  • Capacity for creativity and innovation
  • Understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities, and commitment to them
  • Capacity for lifelong learning and professional development.

Last updated: 21 August 2019