The FEMA P-807 Guidelines were developed for retrofitting soft-story wood-frame buildings based on existing data, and the method had not been verified through full-scale experimental testing. This article presents two different retrofit designs based directly on the FEMA P-807 Guidelines that were examined at several different seismic intensity levels. The effects of the retrofits on damage to the upper stories were investigated. The results from the hybrid testing verify that designs following the FEMA P-807 Guidelines meet specified performance levels and appear to successfully prevent collapse at significantly higher seismic intensity levels well beyond for which they were designed. Based on the test results presented in this article, it is recommended that the soft-story-only retrofit procedure can be followed when financial or other constraints limit the retrofit from bringing the soft-story building up to current code or applying performance-based procedures.
Soft-story wood-frame buildings have been recognized as a disaster preparedness problem for decades. There are tens of thousands of these multi-family three- and four-story structures throughout California and other cities in the United States. The majority were constructed between 1920 and 1970, with many being prevalent in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. The NEES-Soft project was a five-university multi-industry effort that culminated in a series of full-scale soft-story wood-frame building tests to validate retrofit philosophies proposed by (1) the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) P-807 guidelines and (2) a performance-based seismic retrofit (PBSR) approach developed within the project. Four different retrofit designs were developed and validated at full-scale, each with specified performance objectives, which were typically not the same. This paper focuses on the retrofit design using cross laminated timber (CLT) rocking panels and presents the experimental results of the full-scale shake table test of a four-story 370 m2 (4000 ft2) soft-story test building with that FEMA P-807 focused retrofit in place. The building was subjected to the 1989 Loma Prieta and 1992 Cape Mendocino ground motions scaled to 5% damped spectral accelerations ranging from 0.2 to 0.9 g.
Many of the woodframe buildings in United States, particularly along the pacific coast, have more than one story with the first floor used either for parking or commercial space which require large openings and few partition walls at that level. This open space condition
results in the earthquake resistance of the first story being significantly lower than the upper stories thus creating first stories that are both “weak” (low strength) and “soft” (low stiffness) in nature. This feature has the potential to allow formation of the soft first story mechanism during earthquakes. The United States National Science Foundation (NSF) – funded NEES-Soft project has been undertaken to develop and validate economical retrofit concepts for these types of buildings. Shake table tests on a four-story full scale model building were performed with different retrofit schemes as part of the experimental investigation. One of the retrofit measures investigated was addition of cross laminated timber rocking walls at the first floor level for increased seismic resistance. This paper focuses on the experimental performance of soft-story buildings retrofitted with cross laminated timber rocking walls. Moderate damage was observed at the first story level of the building while theupper three stories exhibited very little signs of distress. The focus of this paper is to establish correlation between the observed damage and drift. The Cross laminated timber (CLT) rocking walls were designed as per FEMA P-807 guidelines to satisfy the San Francisco mandatory softstory retrofit ordinance requirements. The tests confirmed the efficiency of CLT retrofit with expected levels of drifts throughout the structure.
This article presents the first generation of Performance-based seismic retrofit (PBSR) and resulting retrofit design using a combination of wood structural panel sheathing and Simpson Strong-Tie® Strong Frame® steel special moment frames. PBSR is essentially the same as performance-based seismic design (PBSD) with the exception of additional constraints on the design due to existing structural and non-structural assemblies. The PBSD method is a design methodology that seeks to ensure that structures meet prescribed performance criteria under seismic loads. In the PBSR, retrofits were installed such that the building meets the performance criteria at the DBE and MCE level and its torsional response reduces to an acceptable range. In this retrofit design methodology, retrofits are not limited to the bottom story (like those of the FEMA P-807 retrofit methodology). They can also be applied to the upper stories to increase the strength of the building, leading to better overall performance of the structure.
International Structural Engineering and Construction Conference
June 18-23 2013, Hononlulu, Hawaii, USA
Woodframe construction in the United States has, by and large, performed well with regard to life-safety over the decades. However, older woodframe buildings, typically two- to four-stories in Northern and Southern California (as well as elsewhere), may have a soft and weak story which makes them susceptible to collapse during even moderate shaking. These buildings often have parking and/or open fronts and very few interior walls resulting in first story stiffness that is sometimes as low as 30% to 40% of the story above. Figure 1 shows a photo of a soft-story building undergoing retrofit in San Francisco. Most local jurisdictions recognize this as a disaster preparedness problem and have beenactively 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 areas in the United States that have high seismic vulnerability. In 2008, the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection and the Applied Technology Council 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 multistory woodframe buildings in San Francisco will be deemed unsafe after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake and a quarter of these buildings would be expected to collapse.