Lessons for steel structures from the 2009 earthquake damage in Padang
The Padang earthquake is a timely reminder to New Zealand structural engineers of a number of things with respect to seismic design and construction practice of steel structures. These include: The importance of implementing the latest seismic loadings and design technology into new and existing structures without undue delay; The need to maintain an effective Building Code enforcement and audit process, including the keeping of publicly transparent compliance records; The important role of the design engineer in observing and auditing the interpretation and implementation of the design is essential, to prevent improper substitution of materials and ill-considered design changes; The need for ongoing continuing professional development and education for design, construction and building code enforcement officials to develop and maintain technical competency; The separation of non-structural elements from interfering with the primary seismic resisting system needs to be carried through diligently from design and into construction. Where structural separation is not achieved then design models for integrating unreinforced brickwork panels within moment resisting frames need to be developed, particularly for retrofit situations; The design for weak-axis bending of two way moment resisting steel frames requires careful attention to secondary effects, and should be avoided where possible; Non-self centring structural elements need to be identified at design stage and designed to minimise inelastic behaviour during ultimate limit state earthquakes; Diagonal bracing rods should be designed to avoid failure within couplings. Consideration should also be given to the dynamic response of the roof level bracing system to heavy wall induced lateral loads; Connections at the interface of steel work with concrete and masonry sub-trades need to be carefully monitored to ensure intended design performance is achieved; Unreinforced masonry without lateral tiebacks should be avoided on lintels over egress-ways; A guide of typical structural repair methods would also be a useful tool for post-earthquake use, to quickly identify appropriate repair strategies and allow repair estimates to be developed. At a philosophical level, should a post-earthquake repair be required to simply allow a resumption of functionality? Alternatively should the repair be required to reinstate the structural performance to its pre-earthquake strength? Or should the repair improve the seismic resisting performance of the structure in line with current earthquake engineering knowledge?
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Copyright (c) 2010 Clark W. K. Hyland, Sugeng Wijanto
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