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Structural T

his article is the conclusion of a two-

part series which discusses the seismic
Nonstructural Components
design provisions for nonbuilding Section 13.3.1 of ASCE 7-16 specifies the use of

structures found in Chapter 15 of Equation 13.3-1 (shown below) to determine the
ASCE 7-16, Minimum Design Loads and Associated seismic design force on a nonstructural component.
Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures. The
previous article (Part 1, STRUCTURE, April Fp =
( )
1+2 z Eqn. 13.3-1
design issues for
2017) provided an introduction to the seismic
design of nonbuilding structures.
( )Rp

structural engineers Several seismic related issues are unique to Fp shall not to be taken as less than:
nonbuilding structures. This article covers the Fp = 0.3SDSIpWp
following advanced topics in the seismic design Fp is not required to be taken as greater than:
of nonbuilding structures: Fp = 1.6SDSIpWp
The determination of seismic forces on where:
nonbuilding structures supported by Fp = seismic design force
other structures. ap = component amplification
factor that varies

The determination of seismic forces on from 1.0 (rigid component Tp < 0.06 seconds) to
common nonstructural components 2.5 (flexible component). Tp is the fundamental

attached to nonbuilding structures. period of the component.
The interrelation Rp = component response modification factor

and hoverlap
t between (same concept as R for structures)
Seismic Design of
CopChapter 13, Seismic Ip = component importance factor (1.0 or 1.5).
Design Requirements Ip is not necessarily the same as the value of IE for
Nonbuilding Structures
for Nonstructural the supporting structure.

Components, and SDS = short period spectral acceleration
and Nonstructural Chapter 15 of
n Wp = component operating weight
ASCE 7-16.
Components z z = height in structure of point of attachment of

Special considerations component with respect to the base.

g a
for the seismic design of h = average roof height of structure with respect

tanks and vessels. to the base
Part 2: Advanced Topics a
related to ASCE 7-16 m
Nonbuilding Structures
The values of ap and Rp are taken from Table
13.5-1 for architectural components or Table
13.6-1 for mechanical and electrical components.
Supported by Other Structures Various terms in Equation 13.3-1 have sig-
By J. G. (Greg) Soules, P.E., S.E., Section 15.3 of ASCE 7-16 provides require- nificant physical meanings. The term 0.4apSDS
P.Eng., SECB, F.SEI, F.ASCE ments for the design of nonbuilding structures represents the peak ground acceleration when ap
supported by other structures for seismic forces, equals 1.0 and the constant acceleration region of
and presents three possible scenarios: the response spectrum (plateau) when ap equals
The nonbuilding structure weight is less 2.5. The term (1 + 2z /h) represents an additional
than 25 percent of the combined weight amplification of the ground motion acceleration
J. G. (Greg) Soules is a Principal of the nonbuilding structure and the due to the elevation of the point of attachment
Engineer with CB&I LLC supporting structure (15.3.1). of the supporting structure.
in Houston, Texas. He is the The nonbuilding structure weight is
Vice Chair of the ASCE 7-16 greater than or equal to 25 percent of
Main Committee, Vice Chair the combined weight of the nonbuilding
25 Percent Limitation
of the ASCE 7-16 Seismic structure and the supporting structure Where the weight of the supported nonbuilding
Subcommittee, and Chair of the (15.3.2(1)) rigid nonbuilding structure structure is less than 25 percent of the combined
ASCE 7-16 Task Committee on (T < 0.06 seconds). effective seismic weights of the nonbuilding
Nonbuilding Structures. He can be The nonbuilding structure weight is structure and supporting structure, the design
reached at greater than or equal to 25 percent of seismic forces of the supported nonbuilding
the combined weight of the nonbuilding structure are determined according to Chapter
structure and the supporting structure 13 where the values of Rp and ap are determined
(15.3.2(2)) flexible nonbuilding structure per Section 13.1.5. Equation 13.3-1 is used
(T 0.06 seconds). to calculate the seismic force, Fp, on the sup-
Nonbuilding structures supported by other ported nonbuilding structure. The supporting
structures see amplified seismic forces in a similar structure is designed to the requirements of
manner as nonstructural components. To dis- Chapter 12, Seismic Design Requirements for
cuss the seismic design of nonbuilding structures Building Structures, or Section 15.5, Nonbuilding
supported by other structures, a review of the Structures Similar to Buildings, as appropriate,
determination of seismic forces on nonstructural with the weight of the supported nonbuilding
components is important. structure considered in the determination of the

8 June 2017
effective seismic weight, W. Section 15.3 rep- as outlined in Table 15.4-2, and ap shall be 15.5, with the R-value of the combined
resents a clear dividing line between Chapter taken as 1.0. system taken as the lesser R-value of the
13 and Chapter 15 where the nonbuilding It is important to note that very few sup- nonbuilding structure or the supporting
structure is supported by another structure. ported nonbuilding structures qualify as structure.
rigid elements. There is a great temptation The supported nonbuilding structure and
More than 25 Percent with to assume that the supported nonbuilding its attachments are designed for the forces
structure is rigid due to the resulting ease of determined for the supported nonbuild-
Rigid Nonbuilding Structure calculation and lower loads. The period of ing structure in the combined analysis. A
Where the fundamental period of the sup- the supported nonbuilding structure must flexible nonbuilding structure supported
ported nonbuilding structure, T, is less be honestly evaluated, taking into account by another structure is by far the most
than 0.06 seconds, the supported non- such items as fluid-structure interaction common situation. Because the combined
building structure is considered to be a and the flexibility of the supporting floor structure is designed using the lesser R-value
rigid element. In this case, the supporting beams. Procedures for taking fluid-structure of the supported nonbuilding structure
structure is designed to the requirements of interaction into account can be found in or the supporting structure, the use of a
Chapter 12 or Section 15.5 as appropriate, TID-7024 (1963). high R-value structural system (e.g. special
and the R-value of the combined system concentrically braced frame) offers no eco-

is permitted to be taken as the R-value More than 25 Percent with nomic advantage. Of course, a high R-value
of the supporting structural system. The structural system may always be used to
Flexible Nonbuilding Structure

supported nonbuilding structure is simply provide better performance.
taken as another mass in the design of the Where the fundamental period of the sup- The use of a combined model requires

supporting structure. This procedure is ported nonbuilding ht structure, T, is greater that the structural engineer designing the

similar to that used for the case where the than or equal Copto 0.06 seconds, the sup- supporting structure work in close col-
supported nonbuilding structure is less than ported nonbuilding structure is considered laboration with the manufacturer of the

25 percent of the combined mass. to be a flexible element. In this case, the supported nonbuilding structure. The com-

The supported nonbuilding structure and nonbuilding structure and supporting bined model does not have to be complex.
its attachments are designed for the forces structure are modeled together in a com-
i n An example of this type of combined model

determined using the procedures of Chapter bined model with appropriate stiffness and can be found in Appendix 4.G of ASCE
13, where the value of Rp is taken as equal effective seismic weight distributions. The Guidelines for Seismic Evaluation and Design
to the R-value of the nonbuilding structure a
combined structure is designed to Section
of Petrochemical Facilities (2011).

continued on next page
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STRUCTURE magazine 9 June 2017

the ratio of the ultimate deformation to the Size nonstructural components are
Common Nonstructural limit deformation. These definitions, while small, usually less than 10 feet
Components Attached to precise, are not straightforward to apply. in height
Fortunately, the commentary to Chapter 13 Construction nonstructural
Nonbuilding Structures provides some guidance. For example, the components are typically shop
Table 13.6-1 (Mechanical and Electrical commentary notes that high-deformability fabricated
Components) and Table 13.5-1 (Architectural materials are materials such as steel or copper Function nonstructural components
Components) contain the basic seismic that can accommodate relative displacements are primarily designed for functionality
parameters (ap and Rp) for many common inelastically if the connections also provide while nonbuilding structures are
nonstructural components. Occasionally, the high-deformability. Therefore, the types of primarily designed to maintain
engineer will run into cases where specific connections used are critical in the classifica- structural stability
values for the components are not listed. In tion process. As an example, steel walkways
this case, it is best to use other mechanical or and steel platforms are commonly attached to
electrical components from Table 13.6-1 or, nonbuilding structures in industrial facilities.
Tanks and Vessels
in the case of an architectural component, While the steel walkways and platforms are Tanks and vessels are nonbuilding structures
use values from other rigid components or constructed of a high-deformability mate- not similar to buildings.
As such, they exhibit a
other flexible components from Table 13.5-1. rial, the connections often are not seismically very different dynamic response than building

For mechanical or electrical components not detailed and frequently include short attach- structures. There are four special consider-

listed in Table 13.6-1, the category of other ment columns with limited ability to absorb ations for tanks and vessels:
mechanical or electrical components provides inelastic deformations. Most configurations 1) The importance of anchor rod stretch.

a simple, although conservative, solution would also qualify as flexible. Therefore, a rea- 2) The importance of providing seismic
by using ap of 1.0 and Rp of 1.5. Engineers sonable recommendation
yrig for values of ap and freeboard.

often try to use values for components in Rp for steel walkways and platforms are ap = 3) The importance of providing piping

Table 13.6-1 that they feel are similar to their 2.5 and Rp = 2.5, which corresponds to other flexibility.
component. The engineer takes on some risk flexible components and limited-deformability 4) Special design requirements for vessel
in using this approach because the descrip- elements and attachments. support skirts.
tions of the components in Table 13.6-1 are
i n
R z
not very detailed. An example can be seen in
Chapter 13 or Chapter 15? Anchor Rod Stretch

T a
trying to choose values for a fin fan. A fin fan

is a type of air cooler with integral support As described earlier, ASCE 7-16 Section 15.3 Many nonbuilding structures rely on the
legs that is often supported on pipe racks. The
provides a clear delineation between Chapter ductile behavior of anchor bolts to justify
values listed for fans in Table 13.6-1 (ap = 2.5
and Rp = 6) are not intended for fin fans with
integral support legs (these values do apply
13 and Chapter 15 for nonstructural compo-
nents and nonbuilding structures supported
by other structures, based on the weight of
the R-value assigned to the structure. Anchor
bolts used for tanks and vessels must stretch
under seismic loads to provide the required
where fin fans are not supported on integral the supported nonstructural component or ductility. Section 15.4.9 provides a consis-
support legs). Fin fans with integral support nonbuilding structure. Unfortunately, the tent treatment of anchorage on nonbuilding
legs have been added to Table 13.6-1 (ap = 2.5 same cannot be said of certain nonstructural structures. Anchors must be designed to be
and Rp = 3) in ASCE 7-16. It was necessary components and nonbuilding structures governed by the tensile strength of a ductile
to specifically add an entry, with significantly supported at grade and common to both steel element. Post-installed anchors in con-
reduced values, for fin fans with integral sup- chapters. The following recommendations crete or masonry must be pre-qualified for
port legs to ASCE 7-16 due to the fans poor attempt to address this lack of clear delinea- seismic applications.
performance in seismic events, such as the tion between Chapter 13 and Chapter 15. Section 15.7.3 is intended to ensure that
February 27, 2010, Chile earthquake (Soules, The most informative reference for deciding anchor attachments are designed such that
Bachman, and Silva, 2016). When in doubt, whether to use Chapter 13 or Chapter 15 the anchor will yield (stretch) before the
and when you cannot match your component is Nonstructural Component or Nonbuilding anchor attachment to the structure fails.
to an exact description in Table 13.6-1, you Structure? (Bachman and Dowty, 2008). This Under Section 15.7.3, connections, excluding
should select the other mechanical or electrical resource identifies the common components anchors (bolts or rods) embedded in concrete,
components category. covered by both Chapter 13 and Chapter must be designed to develop 0 times the
For architectural components not listed in 15 as: calculated connection design force.
Table 13.5-1, the multiple choices provided Billboards and Signs Section 15.7.5 requires anchorage to meet
under other rigid components or other flexi- Bins the requirements of Section 15.4.9, whereby
ble components require engineering judgment. Chimneys the anchor embedment into the concrete must
The engineer must first decide if the compo- Conveyors be designed to develop the tensile strength of
nent is rigid or flexible. This decision should Cooling Towers the anchor. The anchor must have a minimum
be based on an approximate natural period, Stacks gauge length (stretch) of eight diameters.
Tp, for the component. The engineer must Tanks The load combinations with overstrength
then decide if the elements and attachments Towers of Section 12.4.3 are not to be used to size
of the component are high-deformability, Vessels the anchor bolts for tanks, or horizontal and
limited-deformability, or low-deformability. Bachman and Dowty also suggest three ways vertical vessels. Oversized anchors are not able
Section 11.2 provides definitions of high-, to differentiate between nonstructural com- to stretch and, therefore, do not provide the
limited-, and low-deformability regarding ponents and nonbuilding structures: required ductility.

STRUCTURE magazine 10 June 2017

the values in the tables) without ruptur- components. Key takeaways from this article
Seismic Freeboard ing. Experience shows that systems with include:
The impact of a sloshing wave on the tank little or no flexibility fail in large seismic Seismic forces on nonbuilding
roof or forcing the floating roof into a events and systems with flexibility built-in structures supported by other structures
fixed roof is a continuing source of seis- perform well. are determined by the size and
mic damage to ground supported storage stiffness of the supported nonbuilding
tanks. Occasionally, external floating roofs structure.
are forced outside of the tank shell by the
Vessel Support Skirts The choice of design coefficients for
sloshing wave and end up landing on the Skirt supported vessels fail in buckling, which nonstructural components is a function
shell or having the seal catch the shell. is not a ductile failure mode. Therefore, a more of the deformability of the element and
Loss of a floating roof in any of these cases conservative design approach is required. To its connection.
often results in a fire. This damage can be prevent collapse, ASCE 7 Section 15.7.10 and The applicability of Chapter 13 or
eliminated by providing sufficient seismic Table 15.4-2 require skirt supported vessels to Chapter 15 can be determined based
freeboard. be checked for seismic loads based on R/I = on the size, construction, and function
1.0 if the structure falls in Risk Category IV of the component or nonbuilding
or if an R-value of 3.0 is used in the design structure.
Piping Flexibility of the vessel. The R/I = 1.0 check will typi- The performance of tanks and vessels

The lack of flexibility in piping connections cally govern the design of the skirt over using in a seismic event depends heavily on

to tanks is a continuing source of seismic loads determined with an R-factor of 3 in a the anchorage details used, the use of
damage to ground supported storage tanks. moderate to high area of seismic activity. The seismic freeboard, the use of flexible

Therefore, ASCE 7 requires piping systems foundation and anchorage are not required to piping connections, and the proper
connected to tanks and vessels to be flexible be designed for righ
opythe R/I = 1.0 load. design of skirt supports.

enough to take specified displacements as

noted in Table 15.7-1. The piping must be
able to accommodate these movements at

allowable stress levels. This article provides an overview of some The online version of this article
The piping must also be able to accom- advanced topics encountered in the design
i contains detailed references. Please visit

R z
modate the amplified movements (Cd times of nonbuilding structures and nonstructural


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STRUCTURE magazine 11 June 2017