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Generally, seismic load resisting systems are classifiéd into three levels of performance,
designated as ordinary, intermediate, or special, depending on the level of ductility that the
system is expected to provide. A system designated as ordinary is detailed to meet certain
ductility and redundancy requirements, but the requirements are not as stringent as those of
systems classified as intermediate or special. Also, structures not specifically designed or
detailed for seismic resistance by the Seismic Provisions are referred to as low-seismic structures
throughout this Seismic Manual. It is important to note, however, that even low- seismic steel
structures possess some inherent amount of seismic resistance, which may be adequate to resist
a limited amount of seismic demand. See the discussion “R Equal to 3 Applications” below.

Earthquake Ground Motion and Structure Response Spectra

Earthquakes cause vibratory ground motions that may occur in all directions. The horizontal
components of these motions produce horizontal ground accelerations, which cause structural
accelerations and impart energy to the structure.

Earthquake motions are a complex combination of many displacements acting at different

vibration frequencies so that the energy imparted to the structure is caused by the combined
effect of many accelerations acting at many frequencies. A spectral plot of these accelerations
is a graphical summary of the peak response (acceleration) for a large number of ground motion
natural periods of vibration.

Figure 1-1a (using natural period instead of frequency) shows a typical earthquake spectral
acceleration plot. Each point on the curve can be thought of as the amount of energy at that
vibration frequency that the earthquake can impart to the structure. The closer the fun-
damental frequency of the structure is to a frequency containing energy, the more the structure
will feel the earthquake.

Figure 1-1a shows that for this ground motion most of the earthquake accelerations (and hence
the energy imparted into a structure) fall in a natural period range of 0.2 second to 1.0 second.
Thus, structures with natural periods in this range will collect more energy than structures with
periods outside this range. A typical two-story building has a period near 0.2 second, and the
period for a 10-story building is approximately 1.0 second. Since these frequencies are in the
portion of the spectrum that contains most of the earthquake energy, buildings with 10 stories
and less tend to “feel” the earthquake more than taller structures. Low-rise buildings also tend
to be stiff and tall structures tend to be flexible (Figures 1—1b and 1—1c). Stiff souctures tend
to attract a larger percentage of displacement-induced force than do flexible structures. For
these two reasons, earthquake-induced forces in stiff structures (generally those of 10 stories
or less) tend to be a larger percentage of the structure’s weight than those in flexible (taller)
structures. Tall, flexible sbuctures generally experience a greater total deflection (drift).

Multistory buildings are multi-degree-of-freedom systems and have multiple vibrational

modes. Each mode has a deflected shape and a period (or frequency) of vibration. Since an
earthquake ground motion contains a spectrum of acceleration components (each containing
energy), each acceleration frequency that corresponds to a mode frequency imparts energy
into the structure. For example, Figure 1—2 shows a typical five-story building, which behaves
as a vertical column with a lumped mass at each floor level. Application of a
code-specified earthquake design spectrum produces several mode-deflected shapes, the
most significant of which are shown. Although the deflected shapes are shown separately, the
actual building motion is based upon the combination of these deflected shapes that occurs at
any instant. The participation percentage indicates the mode(s) that “attract” the greatest
amount of energy from the earthquake. As can be seen, Mode 1 dominates the way this
particular building responds to the earthquake. The participation percentages shown in Figure
1—2 do not add up to 100 percent because there are additional modes whose participation is
less than 1 percent.

Seismic Use Groups, Maximum Considered Earthquake, and Design Eabhquake

The expected performance of a structure is determined by assigning it to a Seismic Use Group

(SUG). There are three SUGs (I, O, BI), based on the nature of the structure’s occu- pancy and
the risk to society that would be a consequence of earthquake damage to the structure. The
SUGs are used in determining the Seismic Design Category (SDC) for a structure. Also,
Importance Factors (I) are based on the SUG, and hence are related to structure occupancy and
use. The Importance Factor, /, is used in the Equivalent Lateral Force analysis method (described
later) to compute earthquake-induced forces on and in the structure.
The NEHRP Provisions (FEMA 368/369) define earthquake ground motion hazards based on the
seismicity of the site. The approach of the NEHRP Provisions is intended to provide a uniform
margin are defined in terms of maximun considered earthquake (MCE) ground motions.

The MCE ground motions are based on a set of rules that depend on the seismicity of an
individual region, while the design ground motions are based on a lower-bound estimate of

The margin against collapse inherent in structures designed to the NEHRP provisions. This
lower – bound margin was judged, base don experience, to correspond to the factor of 1.5
used to determine the design ground motion. Consequently, the design eathquake ground
motion is established at a ground shaking level that is 1/1.5 (or 2/3) of the MCE groynd

For most regions of the nation, the MCE ground motion is defined with a uniform probability
of exceedence of 2 percent in 50 years, which corresponds to a return periodo f about 2500
years. While stronger shaking tan this could occur, it is considered economically impractical to
design for such rare ground motions, and the selection of the 2-percent probabily of
exceedence in 50 years as the MCE ground motion is considere dan aceptable leve lof seismic

Seismic Design Category

Buildings subject to seismic forces are designed o allow controlled inelastic, ductile
deformations of the system. A building’s Seismic Design Category (SDC) establishes the
minimum required performance level of the structure, based on the location, soil condition,
on the required level of ductile performance for the structural system. There are six SDCs,
designated by the letters A through F, with a being the least severe and F being the most

Determination of the SDC involver three primary steps. First, the mapped spectral
accelerations for a building, Ss and S1, are determined from maps found in ASCE7. Next, the
design earthquake accelerations at short periods, SDS, and at one – second, SD1, are found by
adjusting the accelerations SS and S1 FOR soil conditions, and then multiplying by 2/3 as
prescribed in ASCE 7. Finally, the design earthquake accelerations and the seismic use groups
are used to determine the SDC, according to ASCE 7. The acceleration (SDS or SD1) that yields the
higher category must be used in design.


Seismic forces on the structure result from the lateral acceleration due to the earthquake
ground motion, essentially as a function of F=ma. The seismic force resisting system is
designed to resist the induced forces and dissipate the energy causing the acceleration of the

ASCE 7 describes six procedures for determining the distortions and forces in structures
subject to earthquake ground motion. These are (in order of increasing difficulty and
expected accuracy):

1. Index Force procedure

2. Simplified Analysis procedure

3. Equivalent Lateral Force (ELF) procedure

4. Modal Analysis procedure (response spectrum analysis)

5. Push-over Analysis (an inelastic static analysis of progressive yielding through

the structure)

6. Inelastic Response History Analysis (stepwise integration of equations of motion)

The index force and the simplified analysis procedures are “alternate” methods that have
limited application and must be approved by the authority having jurisdiction. The remaining
methods account for dissipation of earthquake input energy by inelastic distortion of the

The Equivalent Lateral Force (ELF) procedure and the Modal Analysis procedure involve linear
elastic analyses that use earthquake effects adjusted to account for expected inelastic
behavior of the structure. Both are approximate methods of analysis useful within the
limitations of their applicability (see FEMA 369). The last two methods (Push-over Analysis,
Inelastic Response History Analysis) are generally not required except in special simations.

According to ASCE 7, the Equivalent Lateral Force (ELF) analysis is permitted for all structures
except those with certain structural irregularities, and the Modal Analysis is per- mitted for all
structures. Both analyses use four important seismic parameters: the response modification
coefficient, fi; the overstrength factor, f2p; the deflection amplification factor, Cd: and the
reliability or redundancy coefficient, p.

Equivalent lateral forcé method

The equivalent lateral forcé method involves the application of a set of representative or
equivalent forces on each level of the structure that produce horizontal deflections that
approximate the deflections caused by the ground motion. A total horizontal forcé, called the
seismic base shear, Vs, is first computed. The base shear is distributed vertically to each level
of the structure as forces,Fv at each level, x. A linear elastric analysis is then performed to
determine the seismic forcé effects, QE, (axial force, shear, moment) in the structural
The base shear, Vs, deprends on estrimated mass, stiffness, period of vibration, and damping
of the structure, as well as the characteristics of the soil and the carthquake ground motion
accelerations. The magnitude of Vs also depends on the amount of earthquake energy that the
structure is expected to dissipate by inelastic distortion, Atupical form of the expression for Vs

𝑆𝐷𝑆 𝐼 0.044𝑆𝐷𝑆 𝐼
𝐶𝑆 {𝑆 𝐼 } ≥ { 0.5 𝑆1 𝐼

SDS and SD1 are the design ground accelerations (base don structure and soil propertiens, as
well as spectral accelerations SS and S1); I in the occupancy importance factor: W is the
effective seismic weight of the structure (the total dead load plus applicable portions of other
loads); T is the fundamental period of the structure, for which a simplifed approximate building
period, Ta, may be used; and R is the response modification coefficient.

Response modification coefficient (R-factor)

The seismic Design Category is used, along with the lateral system type, to establish a mínimum
level of inelastic, ductile performance that is required for a structure. The corresponding
expected system performance is codified in the form of an R-factor, which is a reduction factor
applied to the lateral forcé to balance the level of ductilitu in a strctural sustem with the required
strength of system.

The response modification coeffecient, R, represet the ratio of forces that would develop in
the seismic load resisting system (SLRS) under the specified ground motion if the structure
possessed a pure linearly elastic response to the prescribed forces. Then a higher R-factor is
applied, the system is expected to exhibit a greater deformation capacity and may be designed
for a lower equivalent lateral force in the linear elastic analysis. Figure 1-3 shows the
relationship between R and the design-level forces, along with the corresponding lateral
deformation of the structural system (FEMA 2000).

Factors that determine the magnitude of the response modification factor are the predicted
performance of the system subjected to strong ground motion, the vulnerability of the gravity
load resisting system to a failure of elemtens in the SLRS, the level and reliability of the
inelasticity the system can attain, and potential backup frame resistance such as that which is
provided by dual-frame systems. As illustrated in Figure 1-3 in order for a system to utilize
higher R factors, the lateral system must have multiple yielding elements, and the other
elements of the system must have adequate strength and deformation capacity to remain
stable at the máximum lateral deflection levels. If the system redundancy and element
overstregth cannot be achieved, a lower value of R should be incorporated in the design and
detailing of the structure.

R equal to 3 applications

Builindigs designed utilizing R equal to 3 must meet the requirements of the AISC Specification
based upon the code-specified forces distributed throughout the framing. The resulting
systems have ductility associated with conventional Steel framing not specifically detailed for
high-seismic resistance. The seismic Provisions are not intended to apply to structures
designed with R equal to 3 or les. These systems are permitted in seismic design categories A,
B, and C, but not in seismic design categories D, E, or F.

R greater Than 3 applications

R grater than 3 applications are intended for buildings that are designed to meet the
requirements of both the seismic provisions and the AISC specification. The use of R greater
than 3 in the calculation of the seismic base shear requires the use of a seismically detailed
system that is representative of the R selected in the design. Consider the following three

1. Special Concentrically Braced Frame (SCBF) systems-SCBF systems are generally

configured so that energy dissipation will occur by tensión yielding and/or compresión
buckling in the braces. The connections of the braces to the columns and beams and
between the columns and beams themselves must then be proportioned to remain
essentially elastic as the undergo these deformations, See figure 1-4.
2. Eccentrically braced Frame (EBF) systems-EBF systems are generally configured so that
energy dissipation will occur by shear yielding and/or flexural yielding in the link. The
beam outside the link, connections, braces, and columns must then be proportioned
to remain essentially elastic as they undergo these deformations. See figure 1-5.
3. Special moment frame (SMF) systems-SMF systems are generally configured so that
energy dissipation will occur by flexural yielding in the gigders near, but away from,
the connection of the girders to the columns. The connections of the girders to the
columns and the columns themselves must then be proportioned to remain essentially
elastic as the undergo these deformation. See figure 1-6.

As a result of these special requirements, which force the deformations to occur in specific
locations, R greater than 3 design and construction will generally cost more than R equal to
3 design and construction.
The code - specified base accelerations used to calculate the seismic forces are not
necesarily maximums. Rather, they represent the intensity of ground motions that have
beem selected a reasonable for design purposes. Accordingly, the requirements in both
the seismic provisions and the Specification must be met to ensure hat the resulting
frames can undergo controlled deformations in a ductile, well-distributed manner. The
design provisions are also intended to result in ditributed deformations throughout the
frame to increase the level of available energy dissipation and corresponding level of
ground motion that can be withsood.

The connections will also be much more robust to transmit the member-strength-based
force demands. Net sections will often require special attention to avoid havin fracture
states control. Special material requirements, design considerations, and construction
practices must be followed.

Redundancy Factors

Adequate redundancy is ensured whem a large number of hinges form throughout the
structure in a progressive manner and when no one element is required to provide full
seismic resistance of the strcture. To account for a mínimum level of redundancy in the
structure, the reliability factor, ρ, is used, bases on the floor área and the number of
frames resisting the seismic force. When structures do have redundancy, this factor
amplifies the lateral forces used in the design of the lateral sytem. The elastic analysis of
the SLRS is performed using Vs based on the tabulated value of R, and ρ is applied to the
resulting QE member forcé effects.

For structures in SDCs A, B, and C, ρ = 1.0 is permitted. The reliability factor, ρ, must be
determined in acordance with ASCE 7 Section and used for all structures in SDCs
D, E, and F. Because of the need for redundancy in Moment Frames and Braced Frames,
the special requirements of ASCE 7 Table 12.3-3 apply. Often, ρ in SDCs D, E, and F will
equal 1.3. These limitations are intended to provide sufficient redundancy in what are
typically drift-controlled systems.

Overstrength factors

All seismic load resisting systems rely on dissipation of earthquake energy through some
varying level of inelastic behavior. However, ductility must be used with care, as the details
can affect the level of ductility available. To account for this, an overstrength factor, Ω𝐷 . Is
used and the specific components that must be designed to remain nominally elastic are
designed for an amplified forcé Ω0 𝑄𝐸 . The locations where this factor must be considered
are stipulated in the seismic provisions.

Load combinationd used in design examples

 Seismic provision Section 4.1 requires that the required srength be determined using the
load, load factores and load combination stipulatedin the applicable building code. In
current U.S, model buiding codes, these ítems are typically base don ASCE 7. For this
reason, ASCE 7 is used as the basis for load determination hereing. Wowever, thethe
presetations of loads and load combinations in this seismic differs slightly from that in
 Consider the load combinations given in ASCE 7 Section 2.3.2 (sea alto section 12.4.2)
 For the case when the effects of the dead and earthquake load are addictive, the load
combination give is
1.2𝐷 + 1.0𝐸 + 𝐿 + 0.2𝑆

and E is defined as
𝐸 = 𝜌𝑄𝐸 + 0.2𝑆𝐷𝑆 𝐷
Substituting Equation 1-4 into Equation 1-3 yields

(1.2 + 0.2𝑆𝐷𝑆 )𝐷 + 𝜌𝑄𝐸 + 𝐿 + 0.2𝑆

Fort he case when the effects of the dead load and eathquake load counteract, the load
combination given is

0.9𝐷 + 1.0𝐸 + 1.6𝐻

and E is defined as
𝐸 = 𝜌𝑄𝐸 + 0.2𝑆𝐷𝑆 𝐷
Substituting Equation 1-7 into Equation 1-6 yields

(0.9 + 0.2𝑆𝐷𝑆 )𝐷 + 𝜌𝑄𝐸 + 1.6𝐻

Similar substitutions can be made when E is based on the amplified seismic load provisions

given in ASCE 7 Section 12.4.3. The resulting load combinations are

(1.2 + 0.2𝑆𝐷𝑆 )𝐷 + Ω0 𝑄𝐸 + 𝐿 + 0.2𝑆

(0.9 + 0.2𝑆𝐷𝑆 )𝐷 + Ω0 𝑄𝐸 + 1.6𝐻

Note that ASCE 7 Section 2.3.2, Exception 1 allows a 0.5 load factor on live load in some

Structural Deflection and Story Drift

Adequacy of a seismic load resisting system (SLRS) requires that it be suitable to undergo
the deformations that result as its components deform inelastically to dissipate
earthquake energy. A building with a properly designed SLRS can still behave poorly if the
non-SLRS structural components are not able to safely deform along with the SLRS.
Likewise, nonstructural components such as exterior cladding and curtain walls can pose
falling hazards or impede egress from the building if they are not secured to the building in
a manner that is compatible with the deformations of the structural components.

In the Equivalent Lateral Force procedure, deflections, 𝛿𝑥 , are computed by multiplying

deflections, 𝛿𝑥𝑒 (computed by elastic analysis using the reduced equivalent lateral forces
on the structure), by Cd to produce an estimate of the drift produced by the design ground
motion, such that

𝛿𝑥 includes the effect of inelastic distortion of the structure .

The design story drift, Δ, is the difference in the absolu e deflections, 𝛿𝑥 , at the center of
mass at the top and bottom of the story under consideration.

Stability Coe0icient

The stability coefficient, θ (ASCE 7), is a measure of the structure’s sensitivity to second
order effects at each story level x:

Px is the total vertical design load at and above level x, A is the design story drift, Vx is the

horizontal seismic shear acting over the height of the story (i.e., between levels z and x-
1),is the story height below level x, and Cd is the structure deflection amplification factor.

When θ≤ 0.10, second-order effects are negligible. When 0.1 < θ≤θmax, moments and
forces are increased by multipying the storyshear, Vx (obtained by the ELF análisis) by the
multiplier θ (1 — θ) and recomputing the seismic forces in the story. The design story drift,

∆, is also amplified by this multiplier. The maximun value θmax, given in ASCE 7 represent a leve lof
deformation that is considered excessive.
Drift Limits
Seismic design requirements include drift limits, usually expressed in terms of story drifts, Limiting story drift
helps to control component inelastic strain in the SLRS and to maintain structural stablity. Drift limitations
also help to reduce daamage to nonstructural building components. Design story drif limits are given in
ASCE 7. Where second-order effects must be included, the amplified ∆ is used in the drift limit check.