UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Seismic Evaluation of a Building Representative of Mass Housing Development Projects in Caracas, Venezuela Otero, A.; Molina Hutt, C.


In an effort to mitigate a considerable housing deficit, the Venezuelan government has constructed many housing development projects using mass production techniques. Most of the developments are in cities with high seismic hazard. The structural system in these buildings consists of reinforced concrete shear walls. They are designed using a linear elastic analysis approach in compliance with the Venezuelan seismic code Covenin 1756, which allows a maximum response modification coefficient (R) as high as 4.5, reducing seismic design forces according to the anticipated ductility of the structural system. The lack of consistency between design assumptions and detailing practices calls the expected performance of these buildings into question. In this study, a 6-story reinforced concrete shear wall building constructed in 2015 is selected to conduct a detailed seismic evaluation in accordance with ASCE 41-13. A numerical 3D model is developed in OpenSees to characterize the nonlinear behavior of the as-built structure. Nonlinear dynamic analyses are carried out to evaluate seismic performance under a suite of ground motions representative of a 475-year return period event. The results suggest the case-study building does not meet the life-safety performance objective inherent in modern building codes. Two major deficiencies are identified: (1) large concentrations of demands in few elements at the base of the structure induce torsional instability; and (2) detailing practices result in limited ductility, suggesting that the design approach should assume considerably lower R values. These preliminary findings highlight the need for further research and a program to review and improve local seismic codes and construction practices in Venezuela.

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