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Risk Frontiers engineer calls for quake model overhaul 

The loss estimation accuracy of earthquake catastrophe models can be increased by incorporating buildings’ structural details, engineer Behnam Beheshtian says.

Dr Beheshtian, who develops Risk Frontiers’ QuakeAUS and QuakeNZ loss guides, says building structure is a missed feature of current models.

Remodelling for structures and creating a “digital twin” can be extremely expensive, he says, but costs can be lowered with access to a building’s digital structural model or drawings.  

“Extracting necessary parameters from even an already existing digital model remains expensive, often requiring extensive work by skilled engineers, although ... challenges should not deter us from pursuing the correct path,” he says in a new research note.

Artificial intelligence will soon make the extraction of such information more practical and cost-effective, he says.

For now, a viable strategy is to concentrate on buildings at the end of their design phase that have yet to be constructed. By developing specialised software that interacts with structural design programs, it is possible to analyse and extract critical parameters.

“Implementing such software at the end of the modelling pipeline enables a cost-effective gathering of building characteristics crucial for estimating earthquake losses within the insurance sector. This way, the proposed approach can effectively improve the overall accuracy of seismic loss analyses, leading to a more accurate assessment of the seismic risks of large and high-value buildings,” Dr Beheshtian says.

This approach can help architects and engineers incorporate risk considerations into the structural design. 

“Buildings designed with seismic risks in mind may have slightly higher initial costs. However, the additional expenses can later be compensated with lower insurance premiums due to enhanced safety ... It can be expected that the built environment gradually becomes safer.”

See the research here.