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Journal of Earthquake Engineering Vol. 1, No. 1 (1997) 157192
@ Imperial College Press
M.J. N. PRIESTLEY
Univer~ityof California, Son Diego, La Jolla, California 920930085, USA
Seismic assessment of existing reinforced concrete frame and shear wall buildings is dis
cussed. Building on an earlier preliminary assessment procedure incorporating aspects of
capacity design into a systems approach for assessment, suggestions are made towards a
displacementbased, rather than forcedbased, approach to determining available seismic
capacity. Based on results from recent experimental programs, procedures are proposed
for assessing member strength including column and beamcolumn joint shearstrength,
that result in less conservative estimates of performance than would result from appli
cation of existing code rules.
1. I n t r o d u c t i o n
The deficiency in expected seismic performance of existing unreinforced masonry
buildings has long been recognized, with cities such as Los Angeles [Long Beach,
19801 and Wellington p e w Zealand Government: Local Government Act, 1979) re
quiring owners to strengthen or demolish deficient structures within a given time
frame. Typically, these buildings were designed before the advent of the first seis
mic design codes in the early 1930's. More recently, a second class of earthquake
risk buildings (ERBs) has been identified  reinforced concrete buildings designed
between 1930; and about 1975 when design codes were implemented containing seis
mic provisions more or less equivalent to those currently in practice. Although steel
and timber buildings should not be considered free of risk, they will not be consid
ered herein. However, many of the principles discussed will be directly applicable
t o masonry buildings.
With the category of ERBs considered in this paper, deficiency of seismic per
formance is generally a consequence of the lack of ductility rather than inadequate
lateral strength. Seismic design coefficients in current codes generally imply depend
able inelastic cyclic response to significant levels of ductility. In older buildings, the
ductility deficit is a consequence of two major failings in the original design process
 poor detailing of reinforcement, and the Iack of a capacity design philosophy.
Deficiencies in detailing typically relate to the amount, distribution, and anchor
age of transverse reinforcement, though deficiencies in longitudinal reinforcement
158 M. J . N. Priestley
l  7 Elastic Period 7;
mStorey sway
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In the earlier procedure priestley and Calvi, 19911, an equivalent elastic acceleration
was determined for the structure, corresponding t o ultimate capacity of the critical
inelastic deformation mechanism. This was found from the lateral strength and
the structure displacement ductility capacity. T h e method for relating this to the
equivalent elastic acceleration response S,(,) assumed that the latter could be found
from the relationship
Sa(e) = Sa(mech)
where
R = 1 +(,us  1)T/1.5To Ips
and where Sa(mech) is the acceleration coefficient for the structure corresponding
to the mechanism strength, ,us is the structural displacement ductility capacity
corresponding to the mechanism investigated, T is the elastic period of the struc
ture, and To is the period corresponding to peak spectral response [see Fig. 2(a)].
Equations (11 and (2) imply that the 'equal dispIacementl approximation (i.e.,
R = p S ) of structural response applies for T 2 1.5T0, and that the response changes
a A
acceleration
I
To Period T T Period T
( a ) Acceleration Spectra (b) Displacement: Spectra
T ElastoPiaslit
( a ) Effective stiffness
F
(b) Equivalent
V ~ S C O U damping
~
With equivalent period and damping calculated, the required displacement Ad is
read from the displacement spectra [see Fig. 2(b)], and compared with the ultimate
displacement capacity A,. Seismic risk associated with achieving the ultimate
displacement of the structure is then assessed from a relationship between the ratio
Au/Ad and annual probability of exceedance, shown conceptually in Fig. 4, where
a value of A,,/& = 1 corresponds t o an annual probability of exceedance of 0.002,
or a return period of about 500 years  a common value used for the design of
new structures. The acceptable minimum level for A,/Ad is thus related to seismic
risk, and is discussed later in this paper.
The approach outlined above has the advantage of directly considering displace
ments, which can be related to strainbased limit states. These are clearly more fun
damental to damage than forcebased limit states, even when serviceability, rather
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a n n u a l probability of excedence
generated from acceleration spectra using the normal relationships between peak ac
celeration and displacement of elastic oscillators. However, it should be recognized
'
that design acceleration spectra are often unrealistically high in the long period
range. This is a typical consequence of a deliberate decision to enforce minimum
strength requirements for long period structures, rather than a reflection of the
expected seismic response. Determination of spectral displacements from design
acceleration spectra typically result in displacements which continue to increase
with period even at very large values of T, though it is known that the character
istics shown in Fig. 2(b) are more realistic. Here, spectral displacements reach a
maximum, and then decrease again at large periods, eventually reaching a stable
value equal to the peak ground displacement, regardless of ductility level or period.
The implication is that the equal displacement approximation can be expected to be
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excessively conservative in the long period range. The influence of this conservatism
in existing spectra will be greater in a substitute structure analysis, based on the ef
fective period a t maximum response, than in an initialstiffness forcebased analysis.
Consequently, for seismic assessment, it is important to use a set of displacement
spectra that is as realistic as possible.
The characteristics of 'real' displacement response spectra are shown, for exam
ple, in the Sylmar record from the 1994 Northridge earthquake, recorded close to the
epicenter, which displayed a peak ground acceleration of 0.85 g. As shown in Fig. 5,
a peak spectral displacement of about 750 mm,occurred at about T = 2.5 s for
5% damping. However, for equivalent viscous damping of about 20%30%, which
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Period (sec)
Fig. 5 . Displacement spectra for 1994 Northridge earthquake (Sylmar record).
164 M. J. N. Priestley
is typical of stable hysteretic response of systems with beam and column hinges,
the response is essentially flat a t about 450 mm for T 2 2 s. The implication is
that satisfactory response of longer period structures could be assured under this
extreme record, provided a displacement capacity of A, > 450 mm was available,
regardless of available strength.
For regions of only low to moderate seismicity, such as much of Europe, this
approach may have increased significance in assessment, since the M5 to M6 earth
quakes, which could be considered to represent extreme events in many cases, may
have high peak spectral response accelerations but rather low peak spectral dis
placements. Thus, it would seem that flexible structures reasonably designed for
gravity loads are unlikely to be a t significant risk of collapse in such cases.
Thus, the assessment procedure follows the sequence of operations in the %ow
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chart of Fig. 6. Calculated member strengths are used to determine the storey sway
potential S, (to be discussed subsequently), and hence, the inelastic deformation
mechanism and base shear strength Vb. Member plastic rotation capacities are cal
culated from momentcurvature analyses. Shear strength of members and joints are
checked to determine whether shear failure will occur before the limits to flexural
plastic rotation are obtained, and the available plastic rotation capacity is reduced,
if necessary, t o the value pertaining at shear failure. From the plastic rotation
capacities of members in a storey, the plastic drift is estimated. The structure dis
placement capacity Asc and ductility capacity fist are found from the mechanism
of plastic deformation determined early in the analysis, and the critical storey drift.
The effective stiffness a t maximum displacement kelZ = Vb/Asc and the corre
sponding period of vibration Teff = 2 are calculated. The equivalent
viscous damping J is based on the structure ductility and the mode of inelastic
displacement. The structure displacement demand hadis then found by entering
the code displacement spectra with T& and 5. A comparison of the displacement
capacity and demand enables the risk, in terms of annual probability of exceedance,
to be identified. The procedure is linear and needs no iteration.
4 Member Strength
Beam Sway
.
ductility p,, from mechanism)
I
S 200  20% 9
5u 100  30%
s? 4.040% 5.0
% 0
6
0.0 1.O 2.0 3.0
Period (sec)
(a) Rock + Firm Soil
1
identified in the code, and are plotted in Fig. 7. These have been generated as
follows: The 5% displacement spectra for p = 1 have been obtained from the NZS
4203:1992 acceleration spectra as
for the three soil categories, where C ( T , l )is the perioddependent acceleration co
efficient for a displacement ductility of p = 1.
Displacement spectra for damping values different from 5% have been obtained
by multiplying the displacement given by Eq. (4) by the factor
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Equation (5) has been used in developing displacement spectra for the European
Seismic Code EC8 [EC8, 19941.
Examination of the displacement spectra in Fig. 7 reveals that, apart from some
nonlinearity for low periods, particularly for ffexible soils, the curves are well rep
resented by straight lines from the origin. This is illustrated by dashed straight
lines for intermediate soils in Fig. 7(b). It should be noted that if the 5% damping
curves had been generated as
which using the forcebased approach would be appropriate for ductile response, the
deviation from the straight lines in the low period range would be further reduced.
Since there are some grounds for believing the NZS4203:1992 acceleration spectra
to be nonconservative in the 0 5 T 5 1.0s range, it would seem quite adequate to
represent the displacement spectra by straight lines.
It is also apparent that the acceleration spectra imply displacements that keep
increasing linearly as the period increases. Examination of the recorded spectra
indicate this to be unrealistic (see Fig. 5 for example). This is recognized in the
Eurocode EC8 which applies a displacement cutoff a t T = 3 s, as suggested by the
linked dashdot lines in Fig. 7Ib). Note that this still does not represent the tendency
of the spectra to converge at the peak ground displacement at high periods, but
conservatively maintains the spectra at constant peak displacement response values
for periods higher than that at the peak displacement response. The approach
should thus be conservative.
Figure 7 enables comparisons between displacements predicted by forcebased
and displacementbased assessment to be made, using the typical code spectra.
With respect to Fig. 8, the required structure displacement for a building of elastic
period T,Z (and corresponding eIastic stiffness k,) is given by the 5% displace
ment spectrum of either Figs. 7(a), 7(b), or 7(c), depending on the soil type, and
independent of the ductility demand or energy dissipated, provided T > 0.7 s.
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For the displacementbased procedure, with the same base shear strength and a
displacement ductility factor of p , the effective stiffness at maximum response (see
Fig. 8) is
1
k,/f = k, = kc . (7)
P
The effective period a t peak response Tarsis thus
Thus, the expected displacement is found for the specified soil condition from Fig. 7
by using Teffand the damping appropriate for the ductility p, and the mechanism
of inelastic response.
Table 1 shows the results of a comparison between force and displacementbased
assessment of required structure displacements for initial elastic periods between
0.7 s and 2 s for the three soil conditions of Fig. 7. A single value of displacement is
predicted from the forcebased approach for each given period. Four different values
are listed for the displacementbased approach. The first, for E = lo%, is appro
priate for a nonlinear elastic system such as that based on unbonded prestressing
[Priestley and MacRae, 19961. The second, for [ = 20%, is appropriate for a struc
tural wall building with p ~ = 4. The third and fourth, with = 30% and 40%, are
approximately appropriate for frame buildings with beam hinge mechanisms, and
structural ductility factors ps = 3 and p s = 6 , respectively [see Fig. 3(b)].
Examination of Table 1 indicates that, in comparison with the displacement
based approach, the forcebased prediction underestimates the displacement de
mand of the nonlinear elastic and structural wall buildings (by 10%40%) and
DisplacementBased Seismic Assesanent of Reinforced Concrete Buildings 169
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overpredicts the frame building response at ps = 3 (by 10%20%), but gives a close
estimate of the displacement for the frame building with p = 6. Furthermore, if
the 3 s cutoff on displacement adopted in EC8 [ECS, 19941 is considered, the force
based approach grossly overestimates the displacement demand for the T, = 2 s, and
somewhat overestimates the displacement demand for the T, = 1.5 s frame
structures.
It is emphasized that this comparison is based within the framework of the
NZS4203:1992 spectra and the adjustment provided by Eq. (5). Since the spec
tra are not felt to be totally appropriate in shape, the conclusions drawn from
above should only be taken as indicating trends. However, it is apparent that the
displacementbased approach results in a range of possible displacements, depend
ing on the mechanism of inelastic response, which is not available in the forcebased
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approach.
4. Mechanism Considerations
A fundamental aspect of seismic assessment is the identification of the probable
inelastic deformation mechanism. This requires comparison of flexural and shear
strength of members to determine whether flexural or shear failure is anticipated,
and a comparison of the relationship between strengths of beams and columns fram
ing into joints in order to determine whether beamsway or columnsway mecha
nisms are likely to form. The problem of sway mechanism determination is discussed
first.
In a full capacity design procedure, column moment capacities are required
to have a substantial margin of strength over beam capacities framing into the
same joint, to ensure the desired weakbeam/strong column performance develops,
thus proscribing columnsway mechanisms. If column hinges are to be completely
avoided, then the margin of strength must reflect the influence of higher mode
response as well as potential beam flexural overstrength [Paulay and Priestley, 19921.
where = sum of beam moment capacities (left + right) a t the joint centroid
of joint, i level n, and EMc,,i = sum of column moment capacities (upper and
lower) a t the joint centroid of joint i at level n.
If S, > 1, a high probability exists of forming a column sway mode, particularly
if S, > 1 a t the first Boor level, since hinging must be expected at the base of the
columns at the ground floor level. However, since the consequences of a softstorey
mode is a greatly reduced structural plastic displacement capacity, as compared to
a beamsway mode as discussed subsequently, a change from S,, = 0.98 to S, = 1.02
would imply a great variation in capacity. To avoid uncertainties in material prop
erties and small errors in calculations from unduly influencing the predicted sway
mode, and to provide some recognition of higher mode effects, it is recommended
that a column sway mechanism be assumed to develop when Sp > 0.85.
Having determined the expected sway mechanism and its inelastic deformation
capacity (as subsequently discussed) in terms of storey drift, the structural displace
ment at the center of seismic force may then be found. This requires investigation
of the shape of the plastic deformation profile, as shown in Fig. 10. Ideally, this
should be found from an inelastic frame lateral response analysis by incorporating
all potential member nonlinearities. This can be achieved by using special purpose
'push analysis' programs, e.g. [SCSolutions, 19961, or by use of dynamic inelastic
time history analyses, e.g. in Carr [1995], where the lateral force vector is gradually
increased in magnitude, sufficiently slowly to ensure that the dynamic modes of
the structure are not excited. However, this assumes a knowledge of the shape of
the lateral force vector, which is typically assumed to be an inverted triangle, and
which may be a reasonable approximation of the elastic displacement profile. If
an inelastic deformation mode develops with a displaced shape markedly different
from the assumed inverted triangular shape, as would be the case for a softstorey
column sway mode, the vertical distribution of forces in the lateral force vector
would gradually deviate (increasingly) from the inverted triangle shape. To war
rant the sophistication of an inelastic static mechanism, or push analysis, it would
seem necessary to be able to modify the shape of the lateral force vector as plas
tic displacements increase. Although not conceptually difficult to implement in a
push analysis, it is not currently available in any computer program, to the writer's
knowledge.
The considerations discussed above are, however, relatively straightforward to
implement in a hand analysis, though the degree of precision must be recognized t o
be rather coarse. Since our ability to determine realistic characteristics for design
(or assessment) seismicity is of considerably greater coarseness, it should not be
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H
(building
height)
'
Fig. 10. Plastic displacement profile for frames.
DisplacementBased Seismic Assessment of Reinforced Concrete Building3 173
seismic force gradually decreases from heff = 0.67Hat p, = 1 to hcff x 0.61H (or
0.5H)at very large values of p,.
For the beam sway mechanisms, the effect is not particularly significant and it
is suggested that, for regular structures, both elastic and plastic displacements be
determined a t an effective height of 0.64H. It is also suggested that the displaced
plastic shape be considered to vary linearly from profile (iJ to profile @ as n in
creases from 4 to 20. The plastic displacement a t 0.64H can thus be shown to be
for
For the column sway mechanism (profile a),heff should reflect the ductility level.
Thus, approximately
heff = [0.64 0.14(p,  1)/p,] . (12)
For a structure of n equal storey heights h,, the plastic displacement A, is given as
Calculating the structural yield displacement Ay a t the effective height hesf, the
ultimate displacement capacity is given by
reinforcement. For such cases, flexural strength should be assessed when the peak
tensile strain in reinforcement is about e, = 0.02.
The effective slab width contributing to beam negative moment capacity is
primarily a function of ductility level and sIab reinforcement details. As an
approximation guide, the width may be taken as the lesser of 114 of the beam
span, or 112 of the transverse beam span for a beam framing into an interior col
umn, or 50% of this value for beams framing into an exterior column. These values
may be conservatively low at high ductility levels. A more complete consideration
of these effects is given in Paulay and Priestley [1992].
where 4, and 4, are the ultimate and yield curvatures, and L, is the equivalent
plastic hinge length, given by
The first term in Eq. (15) represents the spread of plasticity due to member length,
with L being the distance from the critical section to the point of contrdexure.
The second term represents strain penetration into the supporting member (i.e.,
the column), with f,, being the yield strength (MPa) of the beam longitudinal bars
of diameter d b l . As shown in Fig. l l ( a ) , the distance between the critical section and
'
the point of contraflexure will depend on the relative flexural strength of positive
moment and negative moment plastic hinges, and the relative importance of seismic
and gravity moments. However, it is suggested that for negative moment plastic
176 M. J. N. Priestley
col col

( a ) span elevation (b) beam section
ve moment
+: 1 strength
,
1
,
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ductility
t v e moment
"c strength
I 005 I
I &=,, 02
(c) strain profile
hinges, which will generally form against the column face [point A, Fig. ll(a)], a
length L = 0.5L,,where LC = beam clear span, is assumed. This is a reasonable
reflection of the fact that (i) negative moment capacity will exceed positive moment
capacity, and (ii) high shear stress levels in the plastic hinge region will tend to
extend the effective plastic hinge length due to tension shift effects.
The positive moment hinge could form a t the column face [point B, Fig. ll(a)],
or within the span (point C), depending on the influence of gravity loads on the
beam. However, the location, which is always hard to define due t o uncertainty
in the magnitude of gravity loads, and the plastic rotation capacity of the positive
moment 'hinge are of little interest in the assessment because the plastic rotation
will generally greatly exceed the rotational capacity of the negativemoment hinge.
This is a consequence of top reinforcement area A: (including slab contribution)
exceeding bottom reinforcement area A,, and effective compression zone width bb,
for positive moments exceeding the web width b,, appropriate for negative r n s
ments [see Figs. l l ( b ) and ll(c)]. This results in a greatly reduced compression
zone depth c+ for positive moments compared to that for negative moments, c, as
illustrated in Fig. ll(c). Since compatibility of the storey deformed shape requires
that the plastic rotations of all plastic hinges along a beam are essentially equal at
any given stage of response, and since plastic hinge lengths for positive moment can
be expected to exceed those for negative moment, it follows that the critical con
dition, corresponding to attaining the ultimate compression strain ,&, in a plastic
hinge, will always be in a negativemoment hinge. It can readily be shown that the
DisplacementBased Seismic Assessment of Reinforced Concrete Buildings 177
a all beam bars in the lower layer (i.e., if more than one) of bottom reinforcement
restrained against buckling by transverse reinforcement of diameter greater than
db1/4
all transverse reinforcement anchored by hooks bent back into the core by stan
dard 135' hooks or equivalent anchorages
spacing of hoop or stirrup sets not less than 3 = d/4 nor 3 = 6dbl,
unconfined confined
l~rnit 1 limit
I
I
0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.10 0.12
Curvature (rad/rn)
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I 
0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.07
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Curvature (rad/m)
where
rectangular sections
1 3 5 7 13 15
curvature Ductility F a c t o r pp
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hence Eqs. (19) and (20) should also apply directly to beams. However, columns
generally have distributed longitudinal reinforcement, ensuring the existence of a
flexural compression zone under cyclic inelastic response, even when P = 0. With a
beam section,'the tension reinforcement area A, may be less than the compression
reinforcement area, A:, and under inelastic response no concrete compression will
occur. Under these circumstances V , = 0 would seem appropriate at high ductili
ties. On the other hand, in building frames, the condition of A's > A, is not likely
to be critical for shear, since this represents the case of positive moment, when
seismic and gravity shear forces act in opposition.
Until further test data become available, it, is recommended that the shear
strength of a negativemoment plastic hinge be assessed using Eq. (18), but with
'
k = 0.2 for p+ 5 3 and k = 0.05 for p4 2 7, in Eq. (19).
an interior joint for loading in the plane of the frame, but is an exterior joint in the
orthogonal direction as suggested by the dashed line. 'True' interior joints, such as
shown in Fig. 15(b), may be subjected to seismic response as interior joints in either,
or both, of the two orthogonal directions. The corner joint of Fig. 15(c) deserves
special attention. There is reason to expect that corner joints might represent the
critical conditions in building frames because of the biaxial input, typically difficult
reinforcement detailing problems involved in anchoring two orthogonal sets of beam
bars in the joint, and the influence of variable axial load. Despite this concern, there
are almost no test data available for this type of joint.
1. With lightly reinforced beams, or with columns with high axial force levels,
joint cracking may not develop. The critical parameter here is the principal
tension stress in the joint, rather than the shear stress level. Based on gross
joint dimensions, a critical tension stress of
and fa = P/A,,l, vj = Vjh/A,,~ are the average axial stress and shear stress in
the joint core.
2. Beamcolumn joints with high shear stress levels tend to fail in shear, regardless
of the amount of transverse reinforcement. This is recognized in the USA by a
limit of v < 1 . 7 a M P a on joint shear stress. However, the reason for failure is
the principal compression stress, and it is thus more logical to limit this directly,
rather than through the shear stress, which does not recognize the influence of
axial compression. Note that tests on joints with high axial loads and apparently
adequate transverse reinforcement [Pessiki et al., 1990; Beckingsale, 19801, and
with the comparatively low shear stress levels of u, w I . O failed~ in shear. In
both cases, the principal compression stress was about 0.5f:,. Thus, a tentative
upper limit for shear stress would be related to the principal compression stress,
by
where, for oneway joints, p, = 0.5fLa, as above, and for tweway joints, pc =
0.45f:,, to allow for the effects of biaxial joint shear.
3. For beamcolumn joints with principal tension stress pr >  0 . 2 9 a and prin
cipal compression stress p, < 0.5f:, (or 0.45fLa for biaxial bending), failure may
be due to joint shear, bond slip of rebar through the joint, or beam flexural
ductility. In virtually all cases of interior test joints within this range, the flexu
ral strength of the beams on both sides of the joint were developed before joint
failure occurred, unless the columns were weaker than the beams.
For this category of interior joint, Japanese test results lead t o the conclusions
that
a The role of transverse reinforcement seems different for cases where beam bar slip
occurs and where it is restrained. In the former case, hoop strains are largely
independent of the amount of hoop reinforcement. In the latter case, hoop strains
decrease as amount of hoop reinforcement increases.
a When beam bar bond failure occurs,' the hysteresis loops become very pinched.
Strength degradation typically starts at a drift angle of about 2%.
When beam bar bond slip through the joint is inhibited (by provision of a larger
joint widthlbeam bar diameter ratio), more force is transmitted to the joint by
bond. Failure initiates in the joint a t drift angles of about 2%, if transverse
reinforcement is insufficient to carry about 50% of the joint shear, and degrades
more rapidly than when bond slip develops.
Definitive failure models are not yet available. Recently, however, Hakuto, Park
and Tanaka [1995] have suggested the principal tension model of Fig. 16(a). It is
seen that the lower limit of this is similar to the principaltension stress suggested
in relation to Eq. (22). It seems that the upper limit, being based on tension rather
than compression stress, may result in anornolies when either high or low axial
compressions are present. An alternative but similar formulation, based on principal
compression stress and the observations listed above, is suggested in Fig. 16(b). In
Di~~lacemcniBased
Seismic A ~ s e s ~ r n e noft Reinforced Concrete Buildings 185
oneway joint
.4
i 0

1 8 .O1 .02 .03 .04 .05
displacement ductility factor plastic drift
( a ) principal tension model of (b) suggested principal
Halzuto, Park and Tanaka compression model
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1 :
.O1 .02 .03 .04 .05
total drift
(c) possible shear strength
model
this, the principal compression stress ratio p,/ f:, is related t o plastic drift rather
than joint displacement ductility. Line @ indicates response of a joint with low
principal compression stress for which joint failure is not predicted. Line @ repre
sents a case with higher principal compression stress. For this case, strength com
mences to decline once the failure surface has been reached.
A third and simpler formulation is suggested in Fig. 16(c), where, provided
p, < 0.5fCa (or 0.45f:, for tweway joints), the joint shear strength ratio
is assumed to start degrading at 1% drift, regardless of the actual shear stress or
principal stress level. In this formulation, y f is the joint shear corresponding to
beam flexural strength. This model has the merit of capturing the essentials of
the failure mechanism noted by others for underreinforced joints, but it should
be stressed that neither the model of Fig. 16(c) nor that of Fig. 16(b) have been
adequately tested to date. However, it is felt that the model of Fig. 16(c) is likely
to prove to be of adequate conservatism for assessment.
( a ) Benm bars bent away (b) Beam bars bent in (c) Loss of joint integrity
from joint  cover cracking a t
back of joint
bending away from the joint [see Fig. 17(a)], diagonal struts in the joint cannot
be stabilized, and joint failure occurs at an early stage. The situation when beam
reinforcement is bent down into the joint is illustrated in Figs. 17(b) and 17(c).
Joint cracking will first develop under positive beam moments, since axial force on
the coiumn is reduced for this direction of response. In a multistorey building, the
axial force variations in exterior, and particularly in corner columns, can be very
high. As a consequence, cracking under negative moment will be delayed, and may
not occur at d l .
When cracking occurs, the joint tends to dilate horizontally. This places the
cover concrete a t the back of the joint in curvature and vertical cracking occurs
on the weak plane at the line of column reinforcement, particularly if beam rein
forcement hooks lie in the same plane. This is illustrated in Fig. 17(b). The cover
concrete is likely to spa11 off under the increase compression load corresponding to
beam negative moment. In unreinforced joints, this severely degrades the anchor
age of the beam bar hooks, which is needed to equilibrate the diagonal strut in the
joint. The combined action of resistance to this diagonal strut and the pulling force
from the beam reinforcement tension force tends to open the hooks, as shown in
Fig. 17(c), further degrading joint performance. Joint degradation is then compar
atively rapid.
Comparatively small amounts of transverse joint reinforcement greatly improve
the behaviour. Joint dilation is reduced, as is the tendency for cover spalling at the
back of the joint. This still occurs, but at a later stage of response. Straightening
of the beam bar hooks is restrained, thereby maintaining integrity of the diagonal
compression strut.
DisplacementBased Seismic Assessment of Reinforced Concrete Buildings 187
1. For beam bars bent away from the joint, joint failure can be considered to initiate
a t a principal tension stress of 0 . 2 9 f i ~ ~ a .
2. For beam bars bent down across the back of the joint, higher principal ten
sion stresses are possible. The test data support principal tension stresses of
0 . 4 2 a ~ P and a 0 . 5 8 a M P a for exterior joints, and corner joints under bi
axial response, respectively. Note that under diagonal response of corner joints,
the joint shear force is formed from the vectorial addition of the orthogonal
shears.
3. Joint degradation after formation of cracking is governed by gradual reduction
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of the effective joint principal tension stress, in accordance with the relationship
suggested in Fig. 18.
q\ 0.58
I twoway [corner] joint
.G
Fig. 18. Suggested strength degradation model for exterior and corner joints.
188 M. J . N. Priestley
has,occurred in many buildings in the 1995 Kobe earthquake [Priestley et al., 19953.
Some of the aspects of assessment of structural walls are ilIustrated in Fig. 19,
which shows a simple cantilever wall linked to other structural elements by flexible
floor slabs. Flexural reinforcement Fig. 19(a)] reduces with height, reflecting the
anticipated decreased flexural demand. Figure 19(b) compares various moment
profiles up the wall height with the computed moment capacity. Profile assumes
a base moment equal to the calculated flexural strength, and an inverted triangle
distribution of lateral force. The effects of higher modes would be included by
using profile @ for design, where moments decrease linearly with height t o zero
[Paulay and Priestley, 1992; NZS3101, 19951. To account for the effects of diagonal
cracking, a tension shift is normally applied to the moment diagram, displacing
profile @ vertically by an amount equal t o the wall length .4,
For assessment, this approach, which is desirably conservative for design, can be
somewhat modified. First, the tension shift can be reduced to 05,.! as shown in
Fig. 19(b), where profiles @ and @ show tension shift applied to profiles @ and
@ respectively. Second, if the wall nominal shear stress VIA, < 0 . 2 a ~ ~ a ,
diagonal cracking is unlikely to develop and tension shift is inappropriate. This
critical shear stress level is achieved slightly above wall midheight in the example
of Fig. 19. Above this level, profiles @ and @ revert to profiles @ and @
The cdculated moment capacity is represented by profile @, which includes
effects of graduaI moment increase over the development length ldadjacent to rebar
termination. A cracking moment capacity M,,exceeds ultimate strength at the top
of the wall.
Comparison of profiles @ and @ indicate that plastic hinging could develop a t
the wall base (point A), or just below the second floor at point B. However, it is noted
that the capacity at B exceeds profile @, and thus hinging is not predicted under
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the normal triangular force vector, but only when higher modes are considered. It is
unlikely that significant inelastic displacement demand will occur in this condition.
Consequently, for assessment, it is decided t o base inelastic response on a base
hinge. If the capacity at B (or elsewhere) was less than that of profile @, a different
conclusion would be reached.
Assessment of shear strength is included in Fig. 19(c). Here, V, is the shear
force distribution corresponding to the triangular force vector, and base moment
capacity Mb. The base shear force is
In capacity design for new buildings, the design shear force distribution would be
taken as
v = w(bovm (26)
instead of
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7. Conclusions
An attempt has been made to describe an assessment procedure for reinforced con
crete buildings, based on displacement considerations using a substitute structure
approach representing stiffness and effective damping at maximum displacement
capacity, rather than initial stiffness values and forcebased assessment. The pro
cedure is conceptually straightforward, and eliminates many of the concerns that
arise from trying to assess buildings in comparison with code lateral force levels.
Some of the material presented is tentative and requires further development.
In particular, the information on strength and deformation capacity of unreinforced
beam column joints must be considered preliminary, at best. Current work in
progress by R e s t r e p ~ shortly
,~ to be reported, shows considerable promise in this
"Personal communication  Josi Restrepo, University of Canterbury. New Zealand.
DisplacementBased Seismic Assessment of Reinforced Concrete Buildings 191
failure, which is the true risk to the public. Further, after the 'specified remaining
life' of the structure is expired without the advent of a damaging earthquake, it
would seem theoretically reasonable to again assess the building, establishing the
same annual risk of failure, and thus extending the life again. This makes a mockery
of the risk process.
Acknowledgments
Much of the basis for this paper resulted from research funded by the Califor
nia Department of Transportation (Caltrans), at the University of California, San
Diego (UCSD).The support of Caltrans, and that of the New Zealand Earthquake
Commission, is gratefully acknowledged. A significant portion of this paper was
presented at the Pacific Conference on Earthquake Engineering, 1995, [Priestley,
19951.
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