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Building Pakistan’s Capacity for Instruction, Research, and Practice in Earthquake Engineering and Retrofit
Brian E. Tucker, GeoHazards International, Palo Alto
Sahibzada Rafeeqi, NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi
Pakistani Funding (HEC):  $220,000
US Funding:    $241,595
Project Dates on US Side: February 1, 2007 - October 31, 2011

Project Overview

This project aimed to improve Pakistan’s ability to reduce earthquake risk by building the capacity of its universities to teach and conduct research in earthquake engineering and transfer the knowledge needed to seismically retrofit essential structures to both new graduates and practitioners. The approach integrated formal instruction in theory with practice by using case studies of existing buildings typical of the local building stock. It recognized that earthquake engineering exists in a broader societal context that balances safety with competing demands and values by employing multidisciplinary earthquake risk management decision-making processes. The project promoted sustainable academic interest in earthquake engineering research by encouraging cooperative research and professional relationships with American researchers through academic exchange, consultation on research topics that directly impact seismic safety in Pakistan, and creation of a Pakistan Earthquake Engineering Research Agenda. Throughout the project, participants applied concepts learned through case studies of existing buildings, which then, along with theory, formed the basis for courses in seismic assessment and retrofit, comprising both practical training courses for practitioners and academic courses for students. American faculty members and practicing professionals worked with the Pakistani participants to develop, teach, evaluate, and revise these courses, which were piloted in workshops for practicing professionals and as regular courses at NED University and other participating universities. After assessment and revision, courses for practitioners were presented. Several workshops were held to build the capacity of additional faculty and students from participating institutions.  

Major Results

  • Applied advanced earthquake engineering techniques to existing buildings for a core group of Pakistani faculty members, and provided training on existing building vulnerability and solutions for more than 500 people from the engineering community, including academia, industry, and government
  • Enhanced understanding of building seismic behavior within the Pakistani engineering community, especially with respect to the role of masonry infill walls, which will lead to a significant reduction in configuration vulnerabilities for new buildings
  • Significantly strengthened relationships between academia and professional engineers in Karachi and between researchers in Pakistan and the United States
  • Innovatively applied cutting-edge retrofit methods to common urban buildings in Pakistan
  • Formed an international research-practice collaborative network—the Framed Infill Network—to make concrete buildings with masonry infills safer through innovative designs that make beneficial use of infill walls

Quarterly Update

From January 1 through October 31, 2011, the project team completed the remaining case studies and documentation activities, including dissemination products such as short modules for inclusion in academic courses, a training manual, and guidelines and resources for course instructors. They also developed the Framed Infill Network, which involves additional participants from around the world. The Network will be the primary mechanism for project participants to continue their collaboration on research and application now that the project has ended. On May 28, 2011, NED University conducted a training course for 35 participants, which was entitled “Strengthening & Seismic Retrofitting of Building Structures.” Another training course, "Vulnerability Assessment of Buildings Subjected to Earthquake," was held July 6 – 8 in Muzzaffarabad. The final report and several interim reports on this project are available through the links below.

Progress Report Summaries

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