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Department of Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering

University at Buffalo, State University of New York

Buffalo, New York

(716) 645-2114 x2434


Research Team

Seismic Retrofit of Acute Care Facilities (Thrust Area 2)

Acute care facilities are extremely complex, and considerable investment may be required to ensure that a facility remains operational following a disaster. The extensive resources that would be required to achieve such a level of resilience are not likely available at the onset, and activities to upgrade the facilities may have to be staggered over many years.

Ideally, using the limited resources available at any time along this multi-year upgrading process, the objective would be to first make the investments that provide the largest enhancements to disaster resilience, and to sequence all subsequent investments following the same logic. This approach presents a significant challenge to decision makers and their specialist consultants, as there is no integrated tool to support such a decision on factual engineering data. The research work on acute care facilities investigates how this type of integration could be achieved.

The research program is structured to develop the necessary knowledge in the engineering and organizational dimensions required by effective and integrated decision support systems for hospital owners and managers.  Thrust Area 2 addresses research needs for retrofit technologies (using advanced technologies) that can provide effective solutions for acute care facilities, and research needed to formulate the integrated decision support systems that are required to identify the most appropriate mitigation actions, taking into account both engineering issues (structural and nonstructural) and organizational constraints (technical and organizational dimensions of resilience). 

Data from past earthquakes as well as engineering experience demonstrates that functionality of a hospital building can be lost due to structural failure, geotechnical failure, or damage to nonstructural building components (i.e., medical equipment). Furthermore, these are closely inter-related as damage to nonstructural building components, for example, is directly tied to structural response. Therefore, the research tasks of Thrust Area 2 focus on the integrated issues of performance, including both structural and nonstructural systems and components and their functionality.



Presentations and Events

Project Descriptions

Hospital Research Handout (pdf)