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Design Considerations for Precast

Prestressed Concrete Building

Structures in Seismic Areas
Discusses the major design considerations necessary in the
successful construction of precast, prestressed concrete
building structures situated in seismic areas. The importance
and interaction of stiffness, strength, toughness and,
especially, fail-safe connections are emphasized. Such
connections are needed not only to transfer loads but to
provide continuity and overall monolithic behavior in the entire
structure. Suggestions are given on how to increase the
stiffness of the structure as well as advice on good and poor
Alfred A. Vee, P.E., Dr. Eng. design practices. Examples of precast concrete buildings
President drawn from the author's 40 years design experience are
Applied Technology Corporation shown and commented upon.
Honolulu , Hawaii

Long -ti me PCI Professional Member ound principles, attention to It is important that movements and ro-
Alfred A. Vee has been in engineering
practice since 1953, specializing in the
design of precast and prestressed
concrete structures . Most of these
S detail and good judgment are
necessary in designing precast,
prestressed concrete structures in seis-
tations be restrained in an earthquake
because they can cause both structural
and nonstructural damage to buildings
structures have been located in the mic areas. These ingredients, of and in severe cases can induce co l-
Pacific Rim - one of the most course, apply also to the design of all lapse. Shear walls combined with each
seismologically active areas in the types of structures, whether they are other through deep beams or deep wall
world . In recognition of his innovative
work in advancing concrete tech - made of concrete, steel or composite gi rders or trusses to form giant mo-
nology, he was awarded an Honorary materials. However, in the case of pre- ment frames is one good method to in-
Doctorate Degree in engineering from cast and prestressed concrete struc- crease the overall stiffness of a struc-
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology tures , particular attention must be ture.
in 1976. That same year Dr. Yee was given to stiffness, strength and tough- Soft floors, seismic joints and ec-
elected to the prestigious National
Academy of Engineering. He obtained ness requirements, and especially to centricities (non-symmetry) in build-
his bachelor's degree in civil eng i- connection detai ls. Their function is ing frames should be avoided regard-
neering from Rose-Hulman Institute of not only to transfer loads but to devel- less whether they can be justified by
Technology and his master's degree op continuity and monolithic behavior mathematical calculations. If seismic
from Yale University . Dr . Yee has in the entire structure. joints become absolutely necessary
lectured all over the world and is the
author of numerous published papers Strength, stiffness and toughness due to unusual structure size, it is sug-
including some that have appeared in minimize second o_rder effects result- gested that suc h joints be semi-re-
the PCI JOURNAL. ing from drift, deflection and rotation. strained by a system of tension ties in

combination with the insertion of a The precast floor slab panels are in- sion bearing area between the floor
cushioning material between building tegrated with a composite in-place slab panel and the top of the precast
components to reduce possible dam- structural concrete topping which pro- wall panel after this joint is in place.
age from pounding action. vides a uniform leveling surface and a The wall panel thickness or top of
The purpose of this paper is to pre- horizontal structural diaphragm to re- the wall need not be widened to pro-
sent the major design considerations sist seismic forces_ Utilities such as vide support tolerance for the precast
that are required in the safe construc- electric, telephone and television con- concrete slab. Negative moment steel
tion of precast, prestressed concrete duits can be buried within this top- in the topping not only develops full
building structures situated in seismic ping. The precast concrete slab panels continuity between slab spans but also
areas. Another purpose of the paper is are detailed with extended reinforcing serves as a tie to resist horizontal ten-
to present real life examples of build- bars bent in a diagonal pattern, criss- sion between the slab units. In effect,
ings that have withstood major earth- crossing over the precast bearing wall the reinforcement prevents the slabs
quakes and to discuss some of the de- panels. Negative moment steel is from pulling apart over the wall sup-
sign features and practices that do and added in the composite topping to de- port when the concrete undergoes vol-
do not work well in seismic areas. velop continuity between adjacent slab ume changes or if an earthquake oc-
A list of articles pertinent to this spans. The precast concrete wall panel curs.
paper is given in References 1 to 12. of the upper floor is integrated in full In the event that this particular joint
This paper is drawn from the au- continuity with that of the lower floor is severely damaged during an earth-
thor's 40 years experience designing by means of grout-filled steel sleeve quake and the joint deteriorates such
precast, prestressed concrete struc- mechanical connections_ that the concrete in the top of the wall
tures. Most of these structures are situ- This particular joint does not require panel as well as the bearing ends of
ated in the Pacific Rim which is one of a specified minimum bearing area be- the slab panels are spalled off, the
the most seismologically active areas tween the precast floor slab and wall floor slab will not be in any danger of
in the world. panel in order to achieve adequate ver- collapse. This is because the extended
tical support. The extended diagonal overlapping diagonal bars in the bear-
reinforcing steel from the ends of the ing ends of the slab are designed to
CONNECTION DETAILS precast concrete slab panels is de- fully resist anticipated vertical dead
The single most important ingredi- signed to provide full shear resistance and live loads_ No reliance is placed
ent in the design of precast concrete to the anticipated vertical dead and on a bearing element or shear in the
structures is the connection details. live loads on the slab span. Therefore, concrete. Therefore, this detail is prac-
Connections between precast building no reliance is placed on the compres- tically speaking fail-safe.
elements such as columns, beams,
slabs and shear walls must effectively
integrate the individual structural
components in full continuity with
each other so that the overall building GROUT-FILLED
structure behaves monolithically. In WALL PANEL
CONNECTION - - - - - - ,
this manner, the structural analysis
and behavior of a building frame TUBES FOR GROUT
would be identical to that for a cast-in- GROUT BED -------. INJECTION
place structure except that the framing
system now uses precast concrete NEGATIVE MOMENT COMPOSITE IN-SITU
components which are assembled to- CONTINUITY STEEL CONCRETE TOPPING
gether to act monolithically.
As an example, take the case of sim-
ple precast bearing wall panels sup-
porting precast concrete floor slabs.
The most effective system we have
found uses composite in-place connec- PANEL
tions to develop full continuity be- EXTENDED DIAGONAL
tween adjacent slab spans as well as REINFORCING STEEL
the precast concrete wall panel units.
Fig. la illustrates a precast bearing
wall panel supporting a precast floor PRECAST BEARING
or roof slab. The joint detail is ar- WALL PANEL
ranged so that dimensional errors in
construction would have little influ-
ence on the structural integrity and Fig. 1a. Precast bearing wall panels support precast concrete slabs with in-place
performance of the composite system. composite structural topping.

May-June 1991 41
Fig. l b shows an actual project
where the floor slab was erroneously
manufactured short of its intended
support on the precast wall panel. Al-
though this mistake is undesirable, the
extended reinforcing steel would pre-
vent a catastrophic failure in the event
of an earthquake.
Fig. lc shows how the extended slab
reinforcing bars are bent in a diagonal
pattern, criss-crossing over the bearing
wall panel. Added negative moment
continuity steel is also shown. Once
the composite concrete topping is
placed and cured, adequate resistance
in the slab shear support is ensured
even though the precast concrete slab
did not initially rest directly on the
Fig. 1b. Precast slab panel erroneously manufactured short of wall support. bearing wall panel.
Figs. 2a and 2b show a connection
detail developing full continuity be-
tween the precast concrete joists and
In Fig. 2a, a precast concrete soffit
is utilized for a composite beam sup-
porting the precast concrete joists. In-
place concrete of the composite beam
is also used to develop full bearing
and continuity between the precast
joists and beam elements. Added con-
tinuity reinforcement placed in the
composite structural topping is uti-
lized to develop negative moment for
the joists over the beam element.
In Fig. 2b, a cast-in-place beam is
used to support the precast concrete
joists. In all cases, reinforcing steel
and/or strands in the precast concrete
Fig. 1c. Extended reinforcement from slab panels diagonally crossing over wall joists are extended into the in-place or
supports to provide slab shear resistance. Supplementary negative moment steel composite beam elements to develop
in the topping area will develop full continuity between adjacent composite slab additional bearing and shear friction
sections. which may be necessary in the event
that the precast joists are inadvertently
manufactured too short. This type of
ADDED CONTINUITY REINFORCEMENT joint has been used in thousands of
building structures without one single
instance of spalling, cracking or any
other signs of distress.
For developing fully continuous
splices in reinforcing steel bars, me-
COMPOSITE PRECAST/ chanical connections specially de-
BEAM PRESTRESSED signed and tested are more reliable
CONCRETE than conventional lapped splices as
SOFFIT-- -----' commonly used in cast-in-place con-
EXTEND STRANDS struction. Figs. 3a to 3e illustrate some
INTO BEAM - - - '
of the more common types of mechan-
(a) INTERIOR BEAM (b) EXTERIOR BEAM ical connections.
CONNECTION CONNECTION Fig. 3a is a steel sleeve connection
Figs. 2a-2b. Connection detail for interior and exterior beam. that utilizes a special high strength

OR ANGLE - - - - - - i
''\ill' REBAR (I
if11 ,,
STEEL il\1 II WELD ----------~1

(a) (b) (c) (d) (e)


Figs. 3a-3e. Typical mechanical connections . Fig. 3f. Butt and lap weld connections.


(Test Report NPD-024)

n TES~
__ -,~ ~
:rj.JJ !

11,000mm 1620mm
(3'-3-3 / 8')
(1'3-3 / 4 ' )
(6'-6-3 / 4' )
'6~m I 1,000mm I 4-=(5~::)
(1' -3-3 / 4' ) (3 '-3-3/ 8' )


r==- R( X 10 ' )

10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Ca8 = 345kgf / cm ' (Concrete) 4or 6 or IOor
RaY= 3,810kgf/ cm '
WaY = 4,010kgf / em '
(Main rebars)
(Tie hoops)
r I u



I 8

I 0.2801 c 0
~!-m 0 8



40 20 10
R( X 10 ' ) --==:J

Fig. 3g . Summary of results of tests on full size columns with splice sleeves.

May-June 1991 43
non-shrink cement grout matrix which GROUT JOINT
forms a grout wedge anchoring the re-
inforcing steel to the external sleeve. MECHANICAL CONNECTION
This type of mechanical connection
has been tested extensively for repete- IN-SITU CONCRETE
tive loads in both tension and com-
pression and is widely used through- PRECAST CONCRETE BEAM OR GIRDER
out the world.
Fig. 3b shows a splice connection
utilizing a metallic matrix which en-
gages the deformations of the reinforc-
ing steel bars to a serrated inner sur- t - - - - - PRECAST CONCRETE COLUMN
face of the sleeves.
:=;t;=~----GROUT JOINT
Fig. 3c shows a threaded steel cou-
pler engaging threads cut into the ends MECHANICAL CONNECTION
of the reinforcing bars. In some cou- (GROUT FILLED SLEEVE)
plers the surface deformations of the
bars are used as threads which in tum Fig. 4. Typical precast concrete frame.
engage the coupler.
In Fig_. 3d, the threaded coupler is
tapered to accommodate the tapered GROUT JOINT
threaded ends of the steel bars. By ta- I A
~F- f-1!-
pering the threaded ends of the steel
bars, insertion into the threaded cou-
pler is facilitated.

I H-

In Fig. 3e, the ends of the reinforc- ( I

ing bars are engaged by a steel sleeve !- !-!-
hydraulically swaged under pressure !- --~--
to the surface deformations of the re- !- -~~~

inforcing bars. MEMBER ~ .... ~

Typical butt and lap welded connec-
tions are shown in Fig. 3f.
Fig. 3g is taken from a report on
repetitive loading tests on columns
with splice sleeve connections using a
I -
special grout. In this test the steel
sleeves are located at the floor level of
- -
a column-to-beam specimen. The as- -t I I)
sembly is loaded so that bending mo- -H
ments attain a maximum intensity in
11~ \ lA
the specimen. The column-beam con-
nection is then wracked repeatedly by
a jacking arrangement to simulate

seismic forces on a column-to-beam
Fig. 5. Precast concrete shear wall with boundary members.
frame. Results of these tests show that
the mechanical connections enabled
the precast concrete to perform in both with adequate grouting in the joint connection shown in Fig. 4 is classi-
strength and ductility equal to that of area, the vertical precast concrete col- fied as a "blind" connection that can
monolithically cast columns with fully umn unit can be joined at the floor line achieve full continuity in the steel. A
continuous reinforcing steel. or at any other convenient location thin layer of grout inserted between
In Fig. 4 the connection details be- along the height of the column to de- the column units, together with the
tween the column units and between velop full continuity. continuity provided in the reinforcing
the column and beam or girder units It should be noted that the mechani- steel by such connections, will result
are illustrated. In this scheme a me- cal connection between column units in connected column units that act
chanical connection that can develop can be "blindly" executed; that is, ac- monolithically as a fully continuous
full continuity between reinforcing cess openings are not needed, thus member.
bars greatly enhances the flexibility in eliminating the need for patching and In a " blind" connection, the me-
the column-to-column joint locations. grouting after the connection is in- chanical connection is basically a ta-
When these connections are combined stalled. The grout-filled steel sleeve pered steel sleeve which envelops the

ends of the connecting reinforcing Welding is labor intensive and time vertical steel and the horizontal bars of
bars as shown in Fig. 3a. This sleeve consuming. The heat generated from the beam or girder in the high moment
is made large enough to allow reason- welding can cause damage to bond in region adjacent to the column. High
able tolerance for erection and is com- the steel bars and cracking in the adja- strength concrete sufficiently plasti-
pleted by filling with a special grout to cent precast concrete. Furthermore, cized to completely fill all void areas
develop the required anchorage of the high quality welding requires close su- between the reinforcing steel and pre-
reinforcing steel. pervision and inspection whereas me- cast concrete contact surfaces will pro-
Threaded couplers or sleeves filled chanical connectors using sleeves with duce a fully continuous joint integrat-
with metallic matrix can also be used grout can be installed quickly and reli- ing the beam and the column in mono-
but these require access pockets to ex- ably without the need for special skills lithic frame action.
ecute the connection and therefore and supervision. Fig. 5 shows the connection be-
cannot be considered as "blind" con- Grout-filled sleeves have sufficient tween precast concrete shear wall pan-
nections. These threaded couplers or built-in tolerances and can easily be els with boundary members. The
metallic matrix sleeves have been used installed at normal temperatures, thus grouted joint between the precast
mainly for cast-in-place construction avoiding any damage to the reinforc- panel elements in combination with
since the tolerances required wouio be ing steel or adjacent concrete. In situa- properly spaced mechanical connec-
extremely close and access to the tions where epoxy coated reinforcing tions to develop continuity in the rein-
sleeves must be provided before con- steel is used, grout-filled sleeves are forcing steel can produce a shear wall
crete pouring. particularly advantageous because no frame acting monolithically through-
The joint location between the pre- heat or damage to the epoxy would re- out its height.
cast concrete beam and column can be sult. Sleeves with a metallic matrix or The precast concrete shear wall re-
at a point of highest moment adjacent threaded couplers are difficult to apply inforcement is detailed in exactly the
to the column or at some distance in precast concrete work since they same way as a cast-in-place shear
away for convenience in precasting would require extreme precision in bar wall. Vertical wall steel spaced regu-
and erection. In the case of a horizon- placement to have all corresponding larly throughout the length of the wall
tal joint, the joint area is cast-in-place reinforcing steel properly aligned. panel is required to develop shear fric-
to develop full continuity. The me- To Clevelop continuity between the tion along the entire contact face be-
chanical connection is totally exposed beam and column elements, the longi- tween the precast components. Bound-
before installation with in-place con- tudinal steel in the connection must ary elements are detailed to provide
crete and, therefore, the reinforcing have sufficient anchorage in the col- the required tension and compression
bars can be spliced by grout-filled umn. Equally important, confinement resistance as would be analyzed in a
sleeves, welding or other methods. steel must envelop both the column monolithic cast-in-place structure.

,.. -
, ...
...., ... -- .....
,......... ........ .
,, ... tlfl ,

.. . .
....... .......

, ..... .
, .r..
. ........ '



Fig. 6b. Lower portion of Ramon Magsaysay Building, Manila, Philippines.

This 18-story (including basement) reinforced concrete structure utilizes precast,

prestressed concrete joists and composite in-place floor slabs. The structural
system to resist lateral forces due to seismic or wind loads is a shear wall system.
The shear walls are symmetrically clustered about the center of the building, thus
Fig. 6a. Overall view of eliminating eccentric forces. This building experienced severe earthquake forces in
Ramon Magsaysay Building, 1968 and 1972 (Richter Scale 7.2) and in July 1990 (Richter Scale 7.7) without
Manila, Philippines. suffering any structural damage.

May-June 1991 45
Fig. 7. Hotel Liwayway, Manila, Philippines. Wide columns and deep spandrel beams make up this shear wall type structure
capable of maintaining rigidity even after cracking under repeated loads. This picture, which shows that the hotel suffered only
nonstructural damage on building's exterior, was taken shortly after the August 1968 earthquake which reached a magnitude
of 7.0 on the Richter Scale.

the past 20 years have shown that flex- ments produce stiffness and, although
ible building structures that incur ex- they may crack under repeated loads,
FRAMING SYSTEMS cessive deflection or rotation will suf- they are able to maintain a large de-
In the overall performance of a fer considerable damage in an earth- gree of their stiffness without the sig-
structural concrete frame, primary quake. This damage could result from nificant deterioration displayed by
consideration should be given to the repetetive stresses at the joints be- moment frame structures. Earthquakes
development of stiffness, strength and tween framing members, which causes in the Philippines, Chile, Mexico and
toughness. progressive deterioration in stiffness. elsewhere have repeatedly confirmed
In the past, some design engineers This, in tum, would cause a further in- the advantages of the stiff shear wall
believed that pure moment resistant crease in deflections and rotations, re- building frame concept.
frame systems were more desirable sulting in considerable damage to non- Figs. 6a and 6b show a high rise of-
than shear wall systems for high rise structural partitions, facades, utility fice building in Manila which utilizes
buildings in seismic regions. The justi- lines, building contents and other precast, prestressed concrete joists in-
fication for this philosophy is that mo- building elements - including damage tegrated with a cast-in-place structural
ment resistant frames are flexible and to the structural frame itself. With pro- topping. Connections of the joists are
therefore can move, deflect and absorb gressive joint deterioration, such similar to that shown in Fig. 2b. The
more energy, thus reducing the re- building structures can become stati- main lateral resisting element is a cen-
quired calculated base shear forces . It cally unstable and collapse complete- tral concrete shear wall core which
was also thought that, in the case of ly. Increasing the lateral stiffness of was cast-in-place. Main vertical rein-
shear wall structures, the base shear the structure will result in a decrease forcing steel in the shear wall core was
forces would be greatly increased due in detrimental second order (P-Delta) joined by mechanical connections
to the stiffness of such framing and effects and thus increase the critical using a metallic matrix.
therefore would be considered unde- load capacity and overall stability of In August of 1968, this building ex-
sirable for seismic areas. the building. perienced a major earthquake with
However, our experiences during In the case of shear walls, these ele- epicenter immediately east of Manila


Fig. 8. Cast-in-place reinforced concrete structure with stiff upper floors and a soft moment frame ground floor showed partial
collapse of the flexible floor columns. The photograph on left shows the overall building, while the view on the right shows a
closeup of the column failure.

at a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter structural or nonstructural damage rise office building shown in Fig. 6
Scale. The only damage observed was during the earthquake. Nonstructural again experienced only minor damage
cracking in the nonstructural concrete elements, such as marble or stone to the nonstructural concrete block
hollow block partitions of the toilet claddings, nonbearing partitions, ceil- walls.
and stairwell areas . Some loosening of ings and utility ducts, were badly dam- In the devastating earthquake of
screws attaching metal partitions in aged or collapsed and required exten- July 16, 1990 (magnitude 7.7 on the
the toilets were also noticed. sive repairs. Richter Scale epicenter north of Mani-
The exterior surface of the building During this earthquake in Manila, a la), at least 25 major buildings were
is clad with marble slabs embedded to hotel building structure (shown in Fig. heavily damaged in Manila, with a
precast panels which in turn are com- 7) utilizing wide columns and deep loss of 34 lives. Again, this high rise
positely attached to the building frame spandrel beams demonstrated its capa- office building experienced only
by extended reinforcing bars . No bility of maintaining stiffnes s even minor damage to the nonstructural
cracks or damage occurred on this fa- after cracking under repeated loads. concrete block walls in the toilet and
cade despite reports from the night se- The inherent stiffness of the framing stairwell areas . No other structural
curity personnel that the building did system prevented the collapse of the damage was observed.
undergo substantial accelerations and building. In 1970, a 38-story building using
movement during the earthquake. In another instance, a reinforced precast, prestres sed concrete floor
Other nearby buildings suffered se- concrete structure with stiff upper slabs and precast concrete column-tree
vere damage to both structural and floors and a soft ground floor moment frames was built in Hawaii (see Figs.
nonstructural elements. In some in- frame (shown in Fig. 8) suffered a par- 9a-9d) . The lateral resisting framing
stances, partial or total collapse oc- tial collapse due to the flexibility of system comprised a cast-in-place
curred, resulting in a loss of more than the column beam framing system on shear core and precast concrete col-
300 lives. Virtually all moment frame the lower floor. umn-tree frames. In addition to sup-
buildings of both structural steel or re- A similar magnitude earthquake oc- porting vertical loads, the column-tree
inforced concrete suffered major curred in Manila in 1972 and the high frames functioned as a main lateral re-

May-June 1991 47


Moana Hotel, Honolulu , Hawaii . This 38-story, 1260 room hotel was Fig . 9c. Details for splicing upper and
constructed using cast-in-place shear walls with precast concrete moment frames lower columns used in building Ala
supporting precast prestressed concrete floor slabs. Built in 1970, today the Moana Hotel, Honolulu , Hawaii.
building is in very good condition and has required minimal maintenance over the
past 20 years.

Fig. 9b. Ala Moana Hotel, Honolulu , Hawaii . Precast moment frame unit being erected.

1 '
I 1
I 1

Fig. 9d. Ala Moana Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii. Solid precast concrete walls were applied to transverse and longitudinal facade to
minimize drift between floors .

May-June 1991 49
' (b) MOMENT FRAME '"""~/ ,
SHEAR WALL OF (a} & (b)


m:ii l~ :::;:;:;
[:/ tt
~:::: ::;::
[:=:: t =:

MOMENT FRAMES ~ r/////r:

[ : : :=:::
~'?.' ~ ~
... -'\
~:-:::ARW ALL

Fig. 10. Schematic diagrams showing the interaction of shear wall and moment frames.

Fig. 11 illustrates that a soft floor

can be particularly hazardous if it is
located in the lowest floor of a build-
ing where maximum lateral loads
CONCRETE could occur under seismic conditions.
An actual example of this type of fail-
SEISMIC ure is shown in Fig. 8. However, soft
FORCE floors have been known to fail under
seismic conditions even if located on
upper story levels.
If only the lower floors were to be
stiffened with shear walls and then not
continued at the upper levels, abrupt
change in stiffness could result in the
AT REST SEISMIC FORCE failure of the soft floor at the upper
level where a sudden change of stiff-
ness occurs. Therefore, where practi-
cal, both shear walls and moment
Fig . 11 . Schematic concept of soft floor action.
frames should run continuously
throughout the entire building height
sisting element in the longitudinal di- verse directions, solid precast concrete without allowing such soft floors to
rection of the building while the shear panels were inserted at the end walls occur.
core primarily resisted the lateral and extreme ends of the longitudinal A structural arrangement utilizing
forces in the transverse direction. This facade (see Fig. 9d). shear walls connected by deep girders
structure, designed for Seismic Zone In most high rise buildings, shear and columns (where they are permit-
II, experienced seismic forces of mag- walls combined with moment frames ted architecturally) can create signifi-
nitude 6.0 on the Richter Scale in are generally used to resist lateral cant additional stiffness in the building
April of 1973 without any visible forces. As shown in Fig. 10, a pure frame.
damage. shear wall is stiffer at the lower levels In Figs. 12a and 12b, a giant mo-
The precast concrete column tree while a moment frame is stiffer at the ment frame system can be created by
frames were spliced at midheight with upper levels; the combination of these utilizing shear walls in combination
grouted steel sleeves (see Figs. 9b and two elements can result in minimizing with wall girders that are floor-to-floor
9c). To minimize the drift and torsion- large deflections in both the upper and in height. These wall girders could be
al effects in the longitudinal and trans- lower floor levels. used wherever permissible, such as at

ly where deep wall girders are inap-
MECHANICAL ROOM propriate because of occupant access
Architectural and functional consid-
erations will determine the most ideal
locations of these super diagonal ele-
ments. Generally, the roof area is free
from any functional restraints and
super diagonal frames easily could be
placed in this location to enhance the
lateral stiffness of the building.
Eccentricities .in the framing system
should be avoided wherever possible
regardless of justification by structural
calculations and detailing. Eccentrici-
ties generally produce exaggerated
movements that can be damaging. In-
deed, many buildings with even mod-
(a) GIANT MOMENT (b) GIANT MOMENT erate eccentricities have suffered total
FRAME SYSTEM FRAME SYSTEM collapse during earthquakes. Deflec-
tions, drift and rotations should be
Fig. 12. Schematic elevations of giant moment frame system. minimized in every instance since they
are the prime cause of damage and
failure in building frames and non-
structural elements. Furthermore, a
symmetrical building would favor
Ph3 Ph3
-~6_2=( 1 I 4) SEI --++--e:-_3~( 1I 16) SEI economical precast concrete construc-
tion due to the uniformity in produc-
p P-iP.. ~:'!'!':!'!'!:~:- . ~. "':
tion and erection of the precast con-
crete components.
Seismic joints (Fig. 17a) between
{:::: building unit s s hould be avoided
:i .. wherever pos si ble since separate
building units have different periods
of vibration and under seismic activity
tend to pound against each other at the
joint areas. Considerable damage in
seismic joint areas due to pounding of
separate building units was witnessed
in the 1985 Mexico City earthquake
Fig. 13. Relative stiffness of shear walls connected with deep wall girders (giant (Fig. 18). In many cases, total building
moment frames). collapse was directly caused by thi s
mechanical room and elevator room frame. The deep wall girders at the By eliminating seismic joints and
floor levels. As shown in Fig. 13, roof level are also used to support me- developing full continuity between
when shear walls are coupled together chanical equipment rooms. building frame units, pounding can be
with deep wall girders the resulting An effective and cost beneficial lat- prevented. However, in eliminating
deflections are minimized consider- eral shear resi sting framing system seismic joints, floor areas now become
ably . could be attained by the use of super relatively large and the question of
Fig. 14 shows a coupled shear wall diagonals as shown in Fig. 16. These shrinkage effects and floor slab re-
system utilized in the building shown super diagonal s couple the internal straints causing problems of slab and
in Fig. 6. The vertical shear walls of shear walls with the exterior column wall cracking is of major concern. In
the elevator cores are joined together frame to generate maximum resistance most instances, these problems can be
at the roof penthouse level to enhance and stiffness against lateral and over- solved by the addition of continuous
the stiffness of the building. turning forces. The super diagonal can reinforcing steel in both directions to
In Fig. 15, shear walls located at the extend several floors vertically from handle the shrinkage effects.
end walls of the building are joined to- each level in order to generate the To reduce shrinkage stresses, these
gether with deep wall girders at the most efficient height to span ratio. large floor areas can also be cast in
roof level to form a giant moment Super diagonals can be used effective- smaller sections to establish temporary

May-June 1991 51
shrinkage control joints which are then
connected structurally after a long pe-
riod of curing and drying time during PENTHOUSE
construction. One method of connect- MACHINE ROOMI~
ing the smaller cast sections at the
shrinkage control joints is shown in
Fig. 19.
In other instances, however , the :
floor area may be so large that seismic
(expansion) joints become absolutely I I I
I I l
necessary. In this instance, the width I I l :
I l l
of the joint should be sufficient to pre-
vent contact between the separate I I l :
I I l
framing units. However, in the case of
I II :
: II I
an extended period of seismic activity ,
resonance may build up considerable l I I : I I I
movement beyond the magnitude of II I
I I I :: :

the joint separation provided and se-

vere damage may result. Installation I I I .' : I I l
: :
of a tension tie system in combination
I I [': .I I l l
with a suitable cushoning material be- :

tween building units could be consid- I I I :

ered a partial solution in preventing
potential damage from pounding ac- I I I : I I I I
: :
tion (Fig. 20). I I I : :
: :
In this regard, it is again important
to emphasize the need for structural I I I : : :
stiffness in the separate framing units l I I I~ :I I I I
: :
since higher stiffness coefficients will
I I LI .. :I I I I I
reduce the degree of lateral movement '? :
and thus reduce the difficulty in devel- ............ v r GI ANT MOMENT
oping a manageable seismic joint. The
stiffness can be increased substantially ::::
: :
by using shear walls , giant moment
frames or super diagonal systems.
For precast concrete construction in
seismic areas, all joints between pre-
cast concrete units should develop full Fig. 14. Giant moment frame utilized in Ramon Magsaysay Building, Manila,
Philippines. The structure is 18 stories high (including the basement) .
continuity and toughness. Floor slab
and beam units utilizing composite in-
place concrete topping and jointing structural and nonstructural building soft floors in the framing system can
can develop horizontal diaphragm ac- damage by minimizing drift, deflec- lead to severe damage or collapse. Ec-
tion and fail-safe connections to resist tion and rotation . To develop framing centricities (non -symmetry) in the
seismic forces . stiffness, shear wall elements are ex- framing system should be avoided, re-
With the availability of reliable me- tremely important. When these shear gardless of mathematical justifications
chanical splicing devices, precast con- wall panels are integrated with deep and structural detailing.
crete shear wall , slab, column, beam wall girders to produce giant moment Sei smic joints between building
and girder components can be in- frames , the stiffness in the structure is units should be avoided wherever pos-
stalled at any convenient location in a greatly enhanced . Super diagonal s ible in order to prevent poundin g
structure to develop full continuity and frames can also be an effective damage. If such joints become neces-
monolithic frame action . The struc- method to develop stiffne ss in the sary due to the overall size of the
tural analysis for precast concrete con- building frame . These frames can be structure, tension ties in combination
struction would be identical to that of used where access or functional re- with a cushioning material can be in-
a cast-in-place concrete structure. quirements require more open space in cluded in the seismic joint design to
Stiffness in the overall framing sys- a floor plan. reduce possible damage due to pound-
tem is necessary to insure against In seismic areas, the existence of ing action .



moment frames utilized in the Municipal Office Building, City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii.



'/ ///// ///////,


//// '// '/ '/ '/ '/ /.


Fig. 16. Super diagonal frame system. Fig. 17. Building with seismic joints (top) and building without
seismic joints (bottom) .

May-June 1991 53
Fig. 18. Damage and collapse of buildings due to pounding action at seismic joints during Mexico City earthquake of
September 19, 1985.

I. Englekirk, Robert E., " Overview of
PCI Workshop on Effective Use of
Precast Concrete for Seismic Resis-
---~----~o.f--2" TEMPORARY JOINT
tance," PCI JOURNAL, V. 31 , No. 6,
TUBES FOR WIRE LATH November-December 1986, pp. 48-58.
GROUT INJECTION "STAY IN PLACE" 2. Englekirk, Robert E., "An Analytical
FORM Approach to Establishing the Seismic
Resistance Available in Precast Con-
crete Frame Structures," PCI JOUR-
NAL, V. 34, No. I, January-February
1989, pp. 92-101.
3. Englekirk, Robert E., "Seismic Design
STEEL SLEEVES AND Considerations for Precast Concrete
JOINT TO BE GROUTED Multistory Buildings," PCI JOUR-
OF SLABS AND NAL, V. 35 , No.3 , May-June 1990,
4. Fintel, Mark, "Ductile Shear Walls in
Earthquake Re sis tant Multistory
Buildings," ACJ Journal, Proceedings
V. 71 , No.6, June 1974, pp. 296-305 .
5. Fintel, Mark, "Performance of Precast
Fig. 19. Cast-in-place joint detail for shrinkage control. Concrete Structures During Rumanian
Earthquake of March 4, 1977 ," PCI
JOURNAL, V. 22, No. 2, March-April
1977, pp. 10-15.
6. Fintel, Mark, "Modem Concrete Struc-
tures Survive Romanian Earthquake,"
Civil Engineering -ASCE, V. 48, No.
-+-~-1-~-------SEISMIC JOINT 10, October 1978, pp. 80-81.
7. Fintel, Mark, " Performance of Precast
t -f----1 T ,----=-~ -1 and Prestressed Concrete in Mexico
I 1
Earthquake," PCI JOURNAL, V. 31,
No. I, January-February 1986, pp. 18-
I I II I I I 42. (See also Discussion in November-
I I rl I I December 1986 PCI JOURNAL, pp.
143- 144.)
8. Hawkins, Neil M., " State of the Art
Report on Seismic Resistance of Pre-
stressed and Precast Concrete Struc-
_! I I: I I
tures," PCI JOURNAL: V. 22, No. 6,
November-December 1977, pp. 80-
I I I \ I'
i!: 110, and V. 23 , No. 1, January-Febru-

'~ I!
I TO ABSORB IMPACT ary 1978, pp. 40-58.
I I I 9. Hawkins, Neil M., "Precast Concrete
I 1I Connections," Proceedings, U.S.-PRC
I I II Workshop, 1981 , pp. 28-42.
I I II II I II 10. Iverson, James K., " First Impressions
I I I II II of Earthquake Damage in San Francis-
I I I I II co Area," PCI JOURNAL, V. 34, No.
I I I II I 6 , November-December 1989, pp .
II I I I 108- 124.
I I II. Scanlon, Andrew, and Kianoush, Reza

' I I M., " Behavior of Large Panel Precast

Coupled Wall Systems Subjected to
Earthquake Loading," PCI JOUR -
NAL, v.. 33, No. 5, September-Octo-
ber 1988, pp. 124-151.
12. Seckin, M., and Fu, H. C., "Beam-Col-
umn Connection s in Precast Rein-
forc ed Conc rete Construction ," ACI
Structural Journal, V. 87, No. 3, May-
Fig. 20. Proposed detail for reducing damage due to pounding action at seismic joints. June 1990, pp. 252-261.

May-June 1991 55