Serviceability of tall timber and hybrid timber buildings under wind-induced vibrations has become their leading design criterion. Accurate finite element models for predicting their modal properties are crucial for designing buildings that satisfy the current serviceability criteria. It is a challenge for structural engineers to decide what to include in the structural modelling. This is because elements that are typically considered non-structural (partition walls, plasterboards, screed, façade, etc.) have been shown to act structurally and can significantly influence the modal properties of timber buildings.
This paper discusses the importance of including certain entities in finite element models of timber and hybrid timber buildings. A case study of a 5-storey hybrid timber-concrete building with masonry cladding is presented. Full-scale in-situ dynamic tests were performed on the building, using forced vibration testing with a shaker. Frequency-response-function-based modal identification resulted in 3 modes of vibration, identifying natural frequencies, mode shapes and damping ratios. A detailed finite element model was developed that estimated the measured natural frequencies with an error of slightly more than 11%.
With an extensive sensitivity analysis was found that modelling of the foundation, the effect of the adjacent abutting building in contact, and the masonry cladding was needed. After model updating, it was found that the shear stiffness of CLT walls was initially underestimated, concluding that non-structural elements such as plasterboards and partition walls might influence the dynamic properties of this hybrid timber-concrete building.