NEESsoft-Seismic Risk Reduction for Soft-Story, Wood frame Buildings (NEES-2010-0934)

By John Van de Lindt1, Mikhail Gershfeld2, WeiChiang Pang3, Xiaoyun Shao4, Michael Symans5

1. Colorado State University 2. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona 3. Clemson University 4. Western Michigan University 5. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institut

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Title: NEESsoft-Seismic Risk Reduction for Soft-Story, Wood frame Buildings (NEES-2010-0934)

Year Of Curation: 2014

Description: As early as 1970, the structural engineering and building safety community recognized that a large number of two-, three- and even some four-story wood frame buildings designed with the first floor used either for parking or commercial space were built with readily identifiable structural system deficiencies, referred to as a "soft story." Thus, many older multi-story, wood frame buildings (built prior to 1970s) are susceptible to collapse at the first story during earthquakes. The majority of these older multi-story, wood frame buildings have large openings and few partition walls at the ground level. This open space condition results in the earthquake resistance of the first story being significantly lower than the upper stories. These buildings, known as soft-story buildings, are prone to collapse during major earthquake events. The result of the soft-story response, as was observed after the 1989 Loma Prieta, CA and, particularly, the 1994 Northridge, CA earthquakes, is the destruction of property and in some cases loss of life. Most cities and counties recognize this as a disaster preparedness problem and have been actively developing various ordinances and mitigation plans to address this threat. Some of the most visible efforts are taking place in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, and other major metropolitan high earthquake hazard areas. In 2008, the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection and the Applied Technology Council (ATC) initiated the Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS) project with the main goal of identifying possible action plans for reducing earthquake risks in existing buildings. According to the CAPSS study, 43 to 80 percent of the multi-story, wood frame buildings will be deemed unsafe after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake and a quarter of these buildings would be expected to collapse. However, the mechanism that induces collapse of such buildings is not well understood.


PIs & CoPIs: John Van de Lindt, Mikhail Gershfeld, WeiChiang Pang, Xiaoyun Shao, Michael Symans

Dates: October 01, 2010 - March 27, 2014

Organizations: Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States

University of Alabama, AL, United States,
State University of New York at Buffalo, NY, United States,
University of California, San Diego, CA, United States

Sponsor: NSF - CMMI - 1041631

Keywords: Wood Shear Wall, Wood frame shear wall, Woodframe Buildings, wood, woodframe, Soft-story, FEMA P-807, FEMA P807, collapse

"Real - Time Hybrid Simulation of a Multi - Story Wood Shear Wall with First - Story Experimental Substructure Incorporating a Rate - Dependent Seismic Energy Dissipation Device"

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • John Van de Lindt; Mikhail Gershfeld; WeiChiang Pang; Xiaoyun Shao; Michael Symans (2017), "NEESsoft-Seismic Risk Reduction for Soft-Story, Wood frame Buildings (NEES-2010-0934),"

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