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0 Executive Summary

1.1 Background

The students of CEB 701, one of the units in Bachelor of Civil Engineering were tasked with the post
disaster assessment of the thirteen storey building that had collapsed in Shanghai, China on 27th June,
2009. The assessment outlines the causes of failure and necessary percussions that shall be taken to
avoid these type of disasters in the future based on the students current structural knowledge.

1.2 Building Description

The thirteen storey building was still under construction when it had collapsed. The buildings comprised
of 13 storey residential apartments with provisions of carparks. The building foundation comprised of
pre-stressed concrete pipe piles and strip footing foundations. The superstructure comprised of
concrete column, standard masonry and shear walls.

1.3 Assessed Seismic and Geotechnical Rating

The results from seismic and geotechnical condition while construction reveal that the chosen sub
structural elements were not suitable for the intended type of construction load and also the
construction practice employed by the contractor were not appropriate.

1.4 Basis for foundation Assessment

The assessment has been based on the following information:

 Online resource such as assessment carried out by individuals, private firm and parent
governmental authorities in china.
 Online Journals.
 Photographs of the aftermath from the internet.
 Reinforced concrete design books. Basically pile design.
2.0 Introduction

I, Mohammed Daud Hussain, a student of CEB 701 Structural Analysis unit at Fiji National University
have been assigned to assess the causes of foundation failure and determine the necessary preventive
measures to avoid such accidents happening in the future for the thirteen storey residential apartment
complex building located at Lianhuanan Road, in the Minhang district of Shanghai city. The Picture
shows the aerial view of the collapsed building.

Figure 2.1: Minhang district Aerial Photograph. Courtesy of Google Maps 2018.
3.0 Building Description

3.1 General

The under construction building was a thirteen storey residential apartment Reinforced Concrete (RC)
structure. The portion of the building located on Minhang district is largely on masonry non-shear walls
with column and beam system (assumed). The columns are situated on a grid of 3.3m to 0.8m in both
longitudinal and latitudinal directions with in fill masonry walls.

The roof structure during this assessment is assumed to be of Reinforced concrete slab while the sub-
structure consist of pre-stressed concrete pipe piles and strip foundations. It is also assumed that the
building was designed line with current Chinese design codes, but for the purpose of the course
assessment Australian and New Zealand standards would be used for simplicity.

3.2 Primary Structure

As the actual details are not available for superstructure, only dead loads would be used in the
assessment of the above building to Australian and New Zealand Standards. Live loads would be
eliminated since the building was unoccupied.

3.3 Foundation

The foundation of above structure consist of pre-stressed concrete pipe pile (PHC-AB-400-80-33 to be
precise). The diameter of the pipe pile was 0.4m with 0.08m pipe wall thickness piled to a distance of
33m below ground level. In total 118 pre-stressed piles were used to accommodate the entire building
load. That is dead load of the building plus live load due to occupancy and surcharge from the ground.
Strip footing were also used but limited.

Figure 3.1: Foundation Layout

4.0 Seismic Assessment Findings

The newly construction building pile profile consisted of pre-stressed concrete piles, which constitutes
hollow sections.

Figure 4.1: Shows hollow section pre-stressed concrete pipe piles.

As per the above figure it can be observed that the inner part where not filled and also there no

evidence of pre-stressed strands (from the picture) thus indicating a leak in design or construction
5.0 Causes of Foundation failure

The following failure assumption were made:

1. Concrete hollow section piles may be structurally unsuitable when compare steel piles. As horizontal
loads are applied due to change in ground conditions the plie walls move inwards as it is hollow thus
increasing the possibility of pile failure.
2. 0.08m thick pipe pile seems to be under sized without design.
3. The piles may have also failed to excavation being done very close to the structure and dumping of
excavated material on the opposite side of the structure to the trench thus increase the surcharge
on the piles (design surcharge may been exceeded due to this).
4. Unsupervised construction. As the detail design or plans for the structure is not available, it may be
assumed that inappropriate construction practices employed. The piles do not have evidence of
strand reinforcements as per figure 4.1 and careless dumping of excavated materials as per figure
5.1 below.

6.0 Detail Seismic & Geotechnical Assessment Methodology and Results

A seismic and geotechnical assessment of the structure was carried using Tekla Tedds and Geo 5.

6.0 Results.

Figure 6.1: shows schematic diagram

Figure 6.2 shows wall layout of the building.

Figure6.3 shows nodal model of the building.

Figure 6.4 show the failure modal of the building.

7.0 Conclusion

It can now be concluded that inappropriate construction practices had led to the collapse of the multi
storey building. And also there were some design faults which can be negligible. The designer of the
building should have taken precautions while designing to avoid this situation.

8.0 References

1. YIN JI (2009) Better ZSoil, Better Geotechnical Analysis [online] available at: (Accessed on 2nd May 2018).
2. Srivastava, Dr. Amit & Goyal, Chaitanya & Jain, Akash. (2012). Review of Causes of foundation
failures and their possible preventive and remedial measures.[online] available at:
rvzl0IMXm05B_yYNYERd3FspSoL3K9lx8Sx-wIxSSPMaEM-AA (Accessed 2nd May 2018).
3. Sky Canaves (2009) The Wall Street Journal- Shanghai Building Collapsed, Nearly Intact
[online] available at:
building-collapses-nearly-intact/ (Accessed on 2nd May 2018).
4. Wikipedia (unknown) Slope Stability Analysis [online] available at: (Accessed on 2nd May 2018).
5. Prof. Stephen A.Nelson Tulane University (2013) Slope Stability, Triggering Events, Mass
Movement Hazards [online] available at: (Accessed on
2nd May 2018).
9.0 Appendix:

9.1 Tekla Tedds 2018 Slope Stability Calculations.