UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Wood frame building response to rapid onset flooding Becker, Andrea


Floods are considered to be among of the deadliest, costliest and most common natural disasters. Rapid onset, catastrophic floods inundate the shore quickly and manifest as deep water with high velocities. The deep water and high velocities caused by these floods inflict great pressures and forces on the built and natural environments and pose a threat to human safety. Recent disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in the Southern United States and the Sumatra tsunami in the Indian Ocean have revealed that communities at risk require improved preparations for these types of dangerous events. Current building codes, design practices and disaster planning methods account for potential earthquake and wind loads on simple wood frame buildings typical of North American residential construction, however, flood impacts have not been considered in the same level of depth. The objectives of this research are to develop a theoretical model that describes flood impacts on wood frame residential buildings and relates building response to physical flood properties such as depth and velocity. This thesis provides a brief synopsis of previous approaches used to describe building response to flooding. An overview of the major loads caused by rapid onset flooding, along with a description of the structural system utilized in wood design to resist these forces is provided. The failure mechanisms considered and the model logic are described and applied to assess the response of a typical Canadian wood frame home to flood conditions that might be experienced in a rapid onset flood event like a tsunami. Building response results are discussed along with recommendations for future analysis and applications.

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