Sie sind auf Seite 1von 4

Lateral deflection of tall buildings

The lateral deflection also known as sidesway is the movement of a building structure horizontally, resulting
from loads, such as wind loads, seismic loads and also small amounts of secondary movement from vertical
loads. A building can be structurally sound from a stress standpoint and still allows for varying levels of
acceptable movement, based on the buildings function. The amount of lateral deflection can significantly
affect the cost of the building frame. There are generally 2 modes of deflection of tall buildings: bending
and shear.

The lateral deflection of tall buildings is a very important aspect that needs to be taken into sheer
consideration when designing for lateral and wind loads. Large lateral deflections should be prevented so
as not to cause any damages to the building and to its occupants.

The effect of winds get very influential as a building gets taller. Under the action of wind, vertical structures
are subjected to load regimes which are modelled as lateral (horizontal) loads, and as a result, lateral
deflections are induced in the building (sway). It is very important to consider this behaviour in a tall
building from both statics and dynamics perspective, in order to guarantee the performance of the structure
while in use (Ubani Obinna U., 2016)

Rigid frames, rigid planar shear walls, coupled shear walls, and cores are usually employed when forming
the bracing system of a multi-storey building. These different units contribute to the overall resistance of
the system, but their contributions can be very different both in weight and in nature, so it is essential for
the designer to know their behaviour in order that optimum bracing system can be produced (Zalka, 2013).

Rigid frames are very significant in the structural behaviour of buildings. They possess all the three basic
stiffness characteristics, i.e., they have local bending stiffness, global bending stiffness and shear stiffness.
Under lateral loads, the behaviour of frames can be complex, because they undergo both bending and shear
deformations. Hence, the behaviour of frames in resisting lateral loads may be characterized by three types
of stiffnesses and corresponding deflection types which are shear deformation, global bending and local
Figure 1: (a) shear deformation (b) global bending (c) local bending (Source: Zalka, 2013)

Moreover, it is also important that the wind loads are applied correctly based on environmental and other
technical available data. The codes that are generally used for wind analysis are BS 6399-2-1997 and more
recently, Eurocode 1 part 4 EN 1991-4-2005(E). As a matter of fact, it can be stated that wind loads are
dynamic and fluctuate continuously in both magnitude and direction. For instance, some relatively flexible
structures, such as tall slender masts, towers and chimneys, suspension bridges and other cable-stayed
structures may be susceptible to dynamic excitation, in which case lateral deflections will be an important
consideration. However, the vast majority of buildings are sufficiently stiff for the deflections to be small,
in which case the structure may be designed as if it was static (Reynolds et al, 2008).

When wind acts on a building, the windward faces are subjected to direct positive pressure, the magnitude
of which cannot exceed the available kinetic energy of the wind. As the wind is deflected around the sides
and over the roof of the building, it is accelerated, thereby lowering the pressure locally on the building
surface, especially just downwind of the eaves, ridge and corners. These local areas, where the acceleration
of the flow is greatest, can experience very large wind suctions (Reynolds et al, 2008). The surfaces of
enclosed buildings are also subjected to internal pressures. Values for both external and internal pressures
are obtained by multiplying the dynamic pressure by appropriate pressure coefficients and size effect
factors. The overall force on a rectangular building is determined from the normal forces on the windward-
facing and leeward-facing surfaces, the frictional drag forces on surfaces parallel to the direction of the
wind, and a dynamic augmentation factor that depends on the building height and type (Reynolds et al,
In general, engineers should cater for two types of deflection; global deflection and relative floor to floor

Global deflection
It is of prime importance to provide adequate stiffness, especially lateral stiffness in the design of tall
buildings in the design of tall buildings for many reasons, as listed below (Stafford and Coull, 1991):

1. In general, for the Ultimate Limit State (ULS), the lateral deflection should be limited to prevent
2nd order P-delta effects, due to gravity loading which can precipitate collapse.
2. The lateral deflection must be kept low for the serviceability state to allow the proper functioning
of non-structural components, such as elevators and also to prevent distress in the structure which
could lead to the loss of stiffness.
3. Last but not least, sufficient lateral stiffness will prevent dynamic motion becoming large enough
to cause discomfort to the occupants.

Therefore, it can be said that maximum allowable lateral deflection of buildings need to be limited. Current
guidelines and guidance concerning the deflection limits in international limits are very limited and based
primarily on experience on typical low and medium buildings. Henceforth, we can deduce that the
deflections limits is not a well-established topic and depends on the situation. Smith (2011) concluded that
deflection limits are still arbitrary. For instance, a maximum lateral deflection of H/500 to H/1000 by the
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE, 2012) while Stafford and Coull (1991) recommends a value
between H/350 and H/650 (H refers to the total height of the building).

Proper engineering experience and judgment is generally needed to decide on the maximum allowable
lateral deflection. The deflection range should be kept between the lower and upper limit of the above
mentioned values while the same time, it is also necessary to provide sufficient stiffness and bracing such
that the top deflection does not exceed the value under extreme conditions.

Relative floor to floor deflection

Contrary to global deflection limits, BS 8110 Part 2 does provide the same for relative floor-to-floor
deflection. According to the standard, unless partitions, claddings and finishes have been specifically
detailed to allow for anticipated deflections, relative lateral deflection in any one storey under the
characteristic wind load should not exceed H/500, where H is the storey height.
Hence, when analysing the building under consideration, the deflection at each floor must be checked for
and ensured that the limits imposed are respected.

Lateral deflection formula

For a shear wall, the deflection in its plane induced by a load in its plane is the sum of the flexural deflection
as a cantilever and the deflection due to shear. Thus, for a wall with solid rectangular cross section, the
deflection at the top due to uniform load is:

1.5 3
= [( ) + ]

Where is the horizontal lateral deflection, w is the uniform lateral load, H is the height of the wall, E is
the modulus of elasticity of the wall material, t is the wall thickness and L is the length of the wall.

For a shear wall with a concentrated load P at the top, the deflection at the top is:

1.5 3
= [( ) + ]

If the wall is fixed against rotation at the top, however, the deflection is:

= [( ) + 3 ]