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Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering

On-line version ISSN 2309-8775
Print version ISSN 1021-2019


WORKU, A. Soil-structure-interaction provisions: A potential tool to consider for economical seismic design of buildings?. J. S. Afr. Inst. Civ. Eng. [online]. 2014, vol.56, n.1, pp.54-62. ISSN 2309-8775.

Contemporary seismic design codes have become more stringent with respect to the requirements for design forces and deformations in building design. This paper demonstrates that it could be worthwhile to consider the introduction of soil-structure-interaction provisions into local design codes. This is partly to be able to offset the costs incurred by the high magnitude of base shear demand in most buildings attributed to site amplifications due to soft soil sites, as per the requirements of current codes, including the recent South African seismic design code. This beneficial effect of site soils is as a result of lengthening of the fundamental period and of the increased effective damping of the overall system due to soil-structure interaction, which in most cases lead to reduced design spectral values. The paper shows that, if pertinent provisions in some international codes are properly adapted, a substantial reduction in the base shear force can be achieved, in many cases resulting in structural-work cost saving. With this, the paper attempts to address the legitimate concern of design engineers regarding the potential escalation of construction costs associated with the introduction of stringent requirements of contemporary seismic design spectra, especially for soft soil sites.

Keywords : soil-structure-interaction; fixed-base structure; flexible-base structure; period lengthening; effective damping; base shear; site amplification.

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