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Progressive Collapse

Progressive collapse may be described as a situation originated

by the failure of one or more structural members following an
abnormal loading event. This local failure leads to a load
redistribution in the structure, which results in an overall
damage to an extent disproportionate to the initial triggering
The General Services Administration of the United States defines
this phenomenon as a situation where local failure of a primary
structural component leads to the collapse of adjoining
members which, in turn, leads to additional collapse. Hence, the
.total damage is disproportionate to the original cause
A catastrophic partial or total structural failure that ensues from
an event that causes local structural damage that cannot be
absorbed by the inherent continuity and ductility of the
structural system
:The best-known progressive collapse scenarios
The partial collapse of the 22-storey Ronan Point apartment
tower in Newham (east London) in 1968, drew the interest of the
research community towards this phenomenon for the first time.
A gas explosion in a corner of the 18th floor blew out a loadbearing wall, which in turn caused the collapse of the upper
floors due to the loss of support. The impact of the upper floors
on the lower ones led to a sequential failure all the way down to
the ground level . As a result, the entire corner of the building
collapsed, as can be observed in Figure . This partial collapse
was attributed to the inability of the structure to redirect loads
.after the loss of a load-carrying member

collapse occurred in
Oklahoma City in 1995. The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
collapsed following the explosion of a bomb truck, which initially
damaged between one and four ground columns . This partial
loss of support resulted in the failure of the transfer girder
located right above the failing columns and led to the
consequent collapse of the upper floors. The final result was the
collapse of about half of the total floor area of the building.
.Figure shows the building before and after the partial collapse

the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) via the

Building Performance Investigation Team (BPAT) released the

report entitled The Oklahoma City Bombing: Improving Building

conclusion was that "Many of the techniques used to upgrade
the seismic resistance of buildings also improve a buildings
ability to resist the extreme loads of a blast and reduce the
."likelihood of progressive collapse following an explosion
Later works confirmed that the collapse could have been
reduced by about 50% if seismic detailing had been provided to
this reinforced concrete structure. Fully continuous
reinforcement could have reduced both the structural damage
.and the casualties by 80%
The large number of casualties and the economic loss that
accompanied World Trade Center towers brought arenewed
interest in the subject among other federal institutions of the
United States, such as the General Services Administration
(GSA) and the Department of Defence (DoD), which released
their Progressive collapse analysis and design guidelines for new
federal office buildings and major modernization projectsand
Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC): Design of buildings to resist
. progressive collapse
:three basic design methods for progressive collapse prevention
(1)Event control: protection against incidents that might cause
collapse.Since this approach does not increase the inherent
resistance of the structure to progressive collapse and is
dependent on factors outside the control of the designer, its
application could be very limited.
(2) Indirect design: preventing progressive collapse by specifying
minimum requirements with respect to strength and continuity
(3)Direct design: considering resistance against progressive
collapse and
the ability to absorb damage as a part of the design process.
The specific local resistance method and the alternate path
method have been identified as the two basic approaches to
. direct design

For Indirect designthe GSA recommends the following list of

general features
Redundancy The use of detailing to provide structural continuity and ductility
Capacity for resisting load reversals Capacity for resisting shear failure the European standards provides strategies for safeguarding
:civil engineering works against accidental actions
-Strategies based on identified accidental actions:
Designing the structure to have sufficient minimum
Preventing or reducing the action (protective measures)
-Strategies based on limiting the extent of localized failure
Enhanced redundancy (alternate load paths).
Key element designed to sustain notional accidental
integrity and ductility.
Analysis of the structural response to a key structural element
removal, inorder to simulate a local damage comparable to the
one produced in a blastor impact load scenario. If the structure
is able to find alternative paths forredistributing the loads, the
building is then considered to exhibit a low potentialfor
progressive collapse. Although these guidelines provide detailed
step-by-step procedures for the ALP analysis in terms of
element(s) removal locations, load combinations to be applied
and structural acceptance criteria they do not give specific
directions in what refers to the computational modelling aspects
(i.e. constitutive models, simulation procedures, etc.).
Differentstrategies are suggested for linear static, non-linear
static and non-linear dynamicanalyses. The vertical load
combinations to be applied to the structure under study are
GSA DL + 0.25 LL
DoD (0.9 or 1.2) DL + (0.5 LL or 0.2 SL)

Flowcharts are used to determine whether a building is exempt

from detailed consideration for progressive collapse. A number
of important attributes (including occupancy, type of framing
system, number of stories, and standoff distance) are used in
the exemption process. If it is determined that further
consideration for progressive collapse is required, then either a
linear or nonlinear static/dynamic analysis procedure must be
used. A linear analysis approach is limited to low- to mid-rise
buildings that are 10 stories or less in height with relatively
simple structural layouts. A more sophisticated nonlinear
analysis usually is used for taller buildings and/or buildings that
have atypical structural configurations.
As a minimum, the building must withstand the loss of one
primary vertical load-bearing member without causing
progressive collapse. Both exterior and interior scenarios must
be examined for typical structural configurations. In the exterior
scenario, a framed building is to be analyzed separately for each
of the following cases: 1) Instantaneous loss of a column in the
first story located near the middle of the short side of the
building; 2) Instantaneous loss of a column in the first story
located near the middle of the long side of the building; and 3)
Instantaneous loss of a column in the first story located at the
corner of the building.
Buildings with underground parking areas or uncontrolled
ground floor areas must be analyzed for the instantaneous loss
of an interior column as well (interior scenario). Similar analyses
are required for buildings with exterior and interior walls.
Load = 2(DL + 0.25LL) where DL = dead load, and LL = live load
Since the probability is small that full live load is present during
a possible progressive collapse event, 25 percent of the live load
is used in the load combination. Also, the factor of 2 is a
simplified way to account for dynamic effects that amplify the
response when a column or wall is instantaneously removed
from a building.
Design material strengths may be increased by a strengthincrease factor. Tablesummarizes the strength-increase factors

for various construction materials. For structural steel

components, the factors for tensile strength and yield strength
.depend on the grade of the steel and the year it was fabricated

After the analysis has

been performed, a demand-capacity ratio (DCR) is computed for
each of the structural members in the building:where QUD =
acting force (demand) determined in a component or
connection/joint from the analysis (bending moment, axial force,
shear force, and possible combined forces); and QCE = expected
ultimate unfactored capacity of the component and/or
connection/joint (bending moment, axial force, shear force, and
.possible combined forces)
Failure of a structural member depends on the magnitude of the
DCR. In typical structural configurations, structural elements and
connections in reinforced concrete buildings that have DCR
values for bending moment, axial force, shear force, or a
combination thereof that exceed 2.0 are considered to be
damaged severely or collapsed. In such cases, it is unlikely that
members and/or connections will have additional capacity for
redistributing loads. In steel-framed buildings, the maximum
DCR values range between 1 and 3, depending on the structural
Once the DCRs have been computed after the required number
of analysis runs, it is possible to determine the extent of

collapse, if any. The maximum allowable extent of collapse

resulting from the instantaneous removal of an exterior column
or wall must be confined to the smaller of the following two
areas: 1) the structural bays directly associated with the
instantaneously removed column or wall; or 2) 1,800 square-feet
at the floor level directly above the instantaneously removed
column or wall. Similar limits are given for allowable collapse
areas based on the removal of interior columns or walls. A high
potential for progressive collapse is assumed to exist when
collapse areas that are determined from analysis are greater
than the appropriate limiting values prescribed in the GSA
The latest DoD requirements for progressive collapse are in
Design of Buildings to Resist Progressive Collapse (UFC 4-02303), which was published in January 2005. This Unified Facilities
Criteria (UFC) applies to new construction, major renovations,
and leased buildings and must be used in accordance with
Minimum Antiterrorism Standards for Buildings (UFC 4-010-01).
According to UFC 4-010-01, all new and existing buildings three
stories or more in height must be designed to avoid progressive
collapse. Even if a structure has been designed to resist a
specific abnormal load or threat, the progressive collapse
.requirements of UFC 4-023-03 must still be satisfied
The level of progressive collapse design for a structure is
correlated to the Level of Protection (LOP) assigned to the
building as determined by the Security Engineering Facility
Planning Manual

A design requirement not in Table 2 that must be satisfied for all

LOPs is that the floor system at all levels, including the roof,
must be able to withstand a net upward load equal to 1.0D +
0.5L, where D is the dead load based on self-weight only, and L
is the live load. This uplift load, which accounts for the effects
that may be caused when a building is subject to abnormal
loading, is applied to each bay in the structure, one bay at a
time. The members and connections are designed for this load
using the appropriate criteria in Chapters 4 through 8 in UFC 4.023-03
Tie force methodIn the Tie Force method, a building is
mechanically tied together. Minimum tie forces, which vary with
construction type and location in the structure, typically are
resisted by the structural members and connections that are
designed for gravity and lateral loads. The purpose of the
horizontal and vertical ties is to enhance continuity and ductility,
and to develop alternate load paths in the structure. Internal and
peripheral horizontal ties must be provided, along with ties to
external columns and walls. Required tie strengths are given in
Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 of UFC 4-023-03 for reinforced
concrete, structural steel, masonry, wood, and cold-formed steel
construction, respectively. In all cases, the paths of ties must be
.straight and continuous; no changes in direction are permitted
In a reinforced concrete structure, the flexural reinforcement in
slabs, beams, and girders can be used to satisfy the horizontal
tie force requirements. Similarly, longitudinal steel in concrete
.columns can be used to satisfy vertical tie force requirements
Structural members that do not provide the required horizontal
tie force capacity must be redesigned or retrofitted in new and
existing construction, respectively. The Alternate Path (AP)
method, which is described below, is not to be used in these
types of situations. However, if a vertical structural member
cannot provide the required vertical tie force capacity, either the

member must be redesigned or the AP method must be used,

.where that particular member is removed from the structure
Alternate path methodThe AP method, which is applicable to
buildings assigned to medium and high LOPs, is similar to the
method in the GSA Guidelines in that vertical load-bearing
elements are removed at various locations in the building.
However, unlike the GSA Guidelines where the members are
removed at only the first floor level, in the DoD AP method the
vertical elements are removed at each floor level, one at a time.
For example, if there are three exterior columns that must be
investigated and there are five stories in the building, 15 AP
.analyses must be performed

In a linear or nonlinear static analysis, apply the following

amplified factored load to those bays immediately adjacent to
the removed element and at all floors
above the removed element
Load = 2[(0.9 or 1.2)D + (0.5L or 0.2S)] + 0.2W
where D = dead load, L = live load, S = snow load, and W =
wind load
For the rest of the structure, the following load is applied
Load = (0.9 or 1.2)D + (0.5L or 0.2S)
+ 0.2W
When an external column or load-bearing wall is removed, the
collapsed area of the floor directly above the removed element
must be less than the smaller of 750 square feet or 15 percent
of the total area of that floor. Also, the floor directly beneath the
removed element should not fail, The damage limits for interior
columns and walls is two times that of exterior ones. Any
collapse must not extend into the bays immediately adjacent to
.the removed element

Additional ductility requirements, The main goal of the additional

ductility requirements, which are applicable to all types of
construction in structures assigned to Medium and High Levels
of Protection, is to ensure that the failure mode for all external
columns and walls in the ground floor is flexural (ductile) rather

Analysis Procedures for Progressive Collapse

When analyzing a structure, four different analytical procedures
may be used toinvestigate the structures behavior; Linear Static
(LS), Nonlinear Static (NLS),LinearDynamic (LD), and Nonlinear
Dynamic (NLD), in order of increasingcomplexity.A complex
analysis is desired to obtain better and more realistic results
representing the actual nonlinear and dynamic response of the
structure during the progressive collapse. However, both GSA
and DoD guide lines prefer the simplest method, linear static, for

the progressive collapse analysis since this method is cost.effective and easy to perform
a)Linear Static Procedure
The primary method of analysis presented in the GSA guidelines
is the linear static (LS) approach. In general, the LS procedure is
the most simplified of the four procedures, and thus the analysis
can be completed quickly and easy to evaluate the results.
However, it is difficult to predict accurate behavior in a
structure, due to the lack of the dynamic effect and material
nonlinearity by sudden loss of one or more members The
analysis is run under the assumptions that the structure only
undergoes small deformations and that the materials respond in
a linear elastic fashion. The LS procedure, therefore, is limited to
simple and low- to medium rise structures (i.e., less than ten
.stories) with predictable behavior (GSA, 2003)
b)Nonlinear Static Procedure
In a nonlinear static (NLS) procedure, geometric and material
nonlinear behaviors are considered during the analysis. The NLS
procedure is widely performed for a lateral load called pushover
analysis. For progressive collapse analysis, a stepwise increase
of vertical loads is applied until the maximum loads are reached
or until the structure collapses, which is known as vertical
pushover analysis. This procedure is a step above the linear
static procedure because structural members are allowed to
undergo nonlinear behavior during the NLS analysis. However,
vertical push over analysis for the progressive collapse potential
.might lead to overly conservative results
c)Linear Dynamic Procedure
Dynamic analysis accounts for dynamic amplification factors,
inertia, and damping forces, which are calculated during
analysis. Considering these dynamic parameters, dynamic
analysis is much more complex and time-consuming than static
analysis, whether it is linear or nonlinear. However, the linear

dynamic (LD)procedure provides more accurate results,

compared with static analysis. The LD procedure still needs to
consider nonlinear behaviors for better results. For the structure
with large plastic deformations, it should be careful to use this
.analysis because of in correctly calculated dynamic parameters
d)Nonlinear Dynamic Procedure
The nonlinear dynamic (NLD) procedure is the most detailed and
thoroughmethod of progressive collapse analysis. This method
includes both dynamic nature andnonlinear behavior of the
andrealisticresults can be obtained from the NLD method while it
is very time-consuming toevaluateand validate analysis
resultsNLD analysis isperformed by instantaneously removing a
load-bearing member from the alreadyloaded structure and
analyzing time history of the structure response caused by the
lossof thatmember. Both dynamic effects and geometric and
.material nonlinearity were considered in the NLD analysis
D.1)Dynamic Effect
Progressive collapse is an inherently dynamic event. Dynamic
effects may comefrom many sources during the collapse. After a
structural member is failed, thestructure transfers the load of
that member and comes to rest in a newequilibrium
position.During this dynamic load redistribution, internal
dynamic forces affected byinertia anddamping are produced and
vibrations of building elements are involved. Asuddenrelease in
forces from any failed member can be another source of
dynamiceffectsMoreover, progressive collapse is generally
initiated by dynamic event such asexplosion, impact, and
instantaneous failure of a structural member such as a
connection.Therefore dynamic effects for frame structures
should be taken into consideration in progressive collapse

D.2)Nonlinear Effect
Geometrical and Material Nonlinearity
The performance of any structure under abnormal loadings
depends not only onits geometrical properties, but also on the
properties of the materials used to construct thestructure.
Member stiffness ratio is derived to account for geometrical
nonlinearity andmember shear deformation. The effect of shear
deformation is generallyinsignificant forthe conventional framed
structure, but it can be considerably important for
heavytransverse loading. Geometric nonlinearity is commonly
described in terms of "P-DeltaEffect" in the model. Member axial
compressive forces act through the displacement ofone end of a
member relative to the other amplify the lateral bending
response of a beamcolumnTherefore, the P-Delta effect
.influences the transverse bending stiffness of anelement
Most failure or collapse causing in typical structures are mainly
due to the adventof nonlinear material behavior, referred to as
post-elastic or plastic behavior. Therefore material properties
such as yield strength, ultimate strength, and ductility are
.important parameters to design buildings with safety

Catenary Action
Failure of a column creates a double span condition in the
adjoining beams abovethe failed column. If the beams have
large moment capacity and the connections havesufficient
ductility and substantial inelastic rotational capacity,
excessivedeformationoccurs in the double span, resulting in the
sagging floor. The beams act as cablesbetween columns,
developing significant tensile forces that the connection must be
ableto withstand. The double span across the failed column can

be supported by catenaryaction. Alternately, the vertical loads

start to be transferred upward throughtension incolumns above
the failed column and theremaining structure transfers the loads
.to adjacent and unfailed spans