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PROGRESS IN CIVIL AND STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING COMPUTING
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping
Designing Buildings Against Abnormal Loading
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
D.E. Grierson, "Designing Buildings Against Abnormal Loading", in B.H.V. Topping, (Editor), "Progress in Civil and Structural Engineering Computing", Saxe-Coburg Publications, Stirlingshire, UK, Chapter 2, pp 37-62, 2003. doi:10.4203/csets.10.2
Keywords: buildings, abnormal loading, progressive collapse, historical overview, literature review, recent research.
This paper considers the topic of designing buildings against abnormal loading from three different but related perspectives. First presented is an historical overview of a number of building failures caused by a variety of different abnormal loads over the past thirty-five years. Failures discussed include that of the: Ronan Point Flats, Canning Town, UK, in 1968, ; Harbour Cay Condominiums, Florida, USA, in 1981, ; Save-On Grocery Store, British Columbia, Canada, in 1988, ; World Trade Centre, New York, USA, in 1993, ; Murrah Office Building, Oklahoma City, USA, in 1995, ; and the World Trade Centre  and Pentagon  in the USA on September 11, 2001. Attention focuses on the nature of abnormal loading, structural details, failure mechanisms and lessons learned.
The second part of the paper presents a review of the research literature over the past number of years dealing with the analysis and design of buildings subjected to abnormal loading. Research progress in the aftermath of certain building failures is reviewed in chronological order, including a brief discussion of current building code provisions for design against abnormal loading. Also surveyed are the building performance reports prepared in the aftermath of the failures of the Ronan Point Flats in 1968 due to gas explosion, the World Trade Centre in 1993 due to bomb attack, the Murrah Building in 1995 due to bomb attack, and the World Trade Centre and Pentagon in 2001 due to airplane attacks.
The third and last part of the paper discusses current research work by the author dealing with the analysis of buildings subjected to abnormal loading. A rigorous progressive-collapse analysis capability is discussed and applied to an example low-rise building framework, . Also introduced, for the first time in this paper, is an approximate progressive-collapse analysis capability based on conventional design-office computer software for building design that, for the example low-rise framework at least, produces results comparable to those found using the rigorous analysis technique.
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