Earthquake–resistant design matches performance targets of structures and facilities with defined levels of ground shaking. Structural failure in an earthquake may result from higher ground motions or from poor design and construction. In legal disputes in such circumstances experts are required to infer the ground–motion levels at the site, if there are no ground–motion recordings. The proposed framework proposed requires a common database of models and observations, with each expert entitled to make technically defensible assessments of their individual credibility. Bayesian updating is then used by each expert to estimate the ground–motion level satisfying all of the accepted evidence.
Keywords: earthquake damage investigations, response spectra, ground motion levels, forensic engineering, seismology, GMPE, ground motion prediction equations, seismic intensity, structural analysis, expert witnesses, epistemic uncertainty, Bayesian updating, structural failure, legal disputes, structural design, poor design, poor construction, common database