Hurricane Michael

Increasing Structural Resilience Against Natural Disasters

  • 1.  Increasing Structural Resilience Against Natural Disasters

    Posted 09-14-2018 18:24
    From my experience, which us mostly in concrete structures (both cast-in-place and precast) paying attention to joints/connections is most efficient way in increasing structural resilience against all kinds of disasters including hurricanes, earthquakes, and even sabotage.

    Such provisions, for ductile frames, are present in the building codes in US, Canada, UK, and I presume all over the world.

    I used such ductile frame provisions in a CIP concrete structure in Toronto for extra capacity against potential disasters. And that topic was discussed in a PCI Parking Structures Committee for progressive - collapse prevention. In both cases, the extra cost was minimal.

    One success story: the survival of precast concrete buildings in the face of Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, a terrorist attack on part of a housing complex in 1996. The British reinforced concrete design code, BS8110, was used to design the structural system. At the time the British were the designers to address progressive collapse prevention because of the 1968 Ronan Point disaster. Using this code resulted in relatively strong connections between walls and slabs (Byfield, 2006 p. 4).

    I would highly recommend avoiding that very common and pitiful penny-pinching when it come to the design of resilient structures.

    Neil Kazen, M.Eng., M.Sc., P.Eng.
    Retired Structural Engineering Manager, Transportation Division, SNC-Lavalin
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada