Past performance of systems and components in real earthquakes can be used as a means to provide seismic certification.
The use of experience data in the certification of equipment is founded in the nuclear industry and US NRC Unresolved Safety Issue A-46 in 1980. A large number of active nuclear plants needed to investigate the ability of critical systems to perform following a seismic event.
In response, the nuclear industry undertook a large project to develop a database of past experience and test data on equipment for which details of construction were available.
Tobolski Watkins performs experience data certification by comparing the past performance of specific systems in past events with proposed installation details.