An empirical method for seismic vulnerability assessment of Nepali school buildings

Dipendra Gautam*, Rabindra Adhikari, Rajesh Rupakhety, Pushkar Koirala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal damaged more than 28,000 school buildings across the affected areas. Nepali school buildings can broadly be categorized into special moment-resisting frame, brick masonry, stone masonry, timber, and composite construction (steel and masonry). This paper proposes a new methodology to designate seismic vulnerability of these building categories. The proposed methodology is based on the field study of around 3389 school buildings in central Nepal. Structural, non-structural, architectural, site conditions, seismic enhancement and retrofitting, and multi-hazard parameters are incorporated to develop a scoring system. Indexed based system is introduced using sensitivity analysis which allows the designation of total vulnerability scores to individual buildings. The scores are modified based on the level of seismic strengthening/retrofitting. Based on the total vulnerability score, a qualitative vulnerability level is assigned to the individual building. The results highlight that more than 90% of Nepali school buildings are moderate to very highly vulnerable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5965-5982
Number of pages18
JournalBulletin of Earthquake Engineering
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Rajesh Rupakhety acknowledges support from the University of Iceland Research Fund, which partially financed his role in this study. The authors acknowledge PACE consult, and the World Bank Nepal for some supports. Comments from two anonymous reviewers have helped improve the paper, so we are grateful to the reviewers for their constructive and insightful review.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Nature B.V.

Other keywords

  • Brick masonry
  • Gorkha earthquake
  • School building
  • Seismic vulnerability
  • Stone masonry
  • Timber frame


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