GEM Basic Building Taxonomy (Version 1.0)

Report produced in the context of the GEM Ontology and Taxonomy Global Component project
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This report documents the development of Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Basic Building Taxonomy and it also provides version 1.0 of this Taxonomy for its immediate application within GEM Physical Risk projects. Criteria for development of the GEM Building Taxonomy required that the Taxonomy be relevant to seismic performance of different construction types; be comprehensive yet simple; be collapsible; be adhering to principles that are familiar to the range of users; and ultimately be extensible to non-buildings and other hazards.

The taxonomy is organized as a series of expandable tables, which contain information pertaining to various building attributes. Each attribute describes a specific characteristic that could potentially affect the seismic performance of a building. This report describes the structure and the content of the Basic Building Taxonomy, which consists of eight basic attributes, in detail. These attributes were selected after a series of interactions/discussions with all the GEM Physical Risk Global Component project teams. In addition, we also tried to gather feedback from a number of participants outside the GEM Risk Consortium group. The Basic Taxonomy attributes discussed in this report are: material; lateral load-resisting system; roof; floor; building height; date of construction; structural irregularity, and occupancy. A future Detailed Building Taxonomy will provide more details related to certain aforementioned attributes in the Basic Building Taxonomy. As well, it will also include additional attributes that are necessary for assessing building vulnerability using analytical procedures.

The report also illustrates the practical use of the proposed GEM Basic Building Taxonomy by discussing example case studies, wherein the building-specific characteristics are mapped directly using GEM Taxonomic attributes and a simple taxonomic string is constructed for that building. The building taxonomy data model is highly flexible and it can be easily incorporated within the relational database architecture. Due to its ability to represent building typologies using a shorthand form, it is also possible to use this taxonomy for non-database applications. Key terms in the taxonomy are explained in an online glossary, which provides both text and graphic descriptions for the attributes and their details.

Additional Publication Details

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GEM Basic Building Taxonomy (Version 1.0)
Year Published:
GEM Nexus
Contributing office(s):
Geologic Hazards Science Center
iii, 39 p.