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THE ALGERIAN SEISMIC CODE AND PERSPECTIVES OF THE AFRICAN CODE

N. Bourahla1, S. Tafraout1 and F. Bouriche2 1 Civil Engineering Department, University of Blida, Algeria 2 National Earthquake Engineering Centre, Algiers, Algeria

ABSTRACT
Studies of the seismicity of Africa recognise that several regions are seismically very active, especially the northern and the east southern parts of the continent. The recent earthquakes which occurred in these areas, caused high death toll and incurred intensive damage to all types of constructions, which demonstrated how vulnerable most of buildings are. The post seismic investigations indicate that inappropriate design and construction of concrete structures may lead to premature ruin under earthquake ground motion. In order to mitigate the seismic hazard, some countries developed their own seismic codes which provide design provisions to enhance the performance of structures to withstand seismic loadings. In this paper, a brief account on the seismicity of the continent is first outlined showing the seismically hazardous locations. Northern Algeria is one of these areas which are highly exposed to severe earthquakes. The experience of the development of the Algerian seismic code is summarised through a historical background which highlights the major revisions. The latest version of the code (RPA99v2003) is then schematically outlined. Finally, the specific measures related to concrete design are extracted from the Algerian seismic code and a proposal is suggested for extending their application at a continent level within the framework of the African Concrete Code.

INTRODUCTION Different parts of Africa are recognised by a high seismic activity. Inappropriately designed and detailed reinforced concrete structures to withstand seismic loading can be disastrous [1]. The rate of severe damage and collapses of such structures during recent earthquakes is very alarming [4]. Within the framework of earthquake hazard mitigation, seismic codes provide provisions to enhance the seismic resistance of the buildings and consequently protect human lives and minimise property lost. Seismic design practice in different regions of the African continent can be improved by experience exchange and cooperation. This paper presents the Algerian experience on earthquake engineering through the development of its seismic code and the performance of buildings especially reinforced concrete structures during the last earthquake that hit the eastern part of Algiers. The overall structure of the code is critically

moderate hazard areas with PGA less than 0. Figure 2 represents the seismic hazard map adapted from the Global Seismic Hazard Assessment program (GSHAP). National Earthquake Information Center) In terms of Acceleration ground motion. . North Africa. high hazard areas with PGA less than 0. resisting element dimensions. As can be seen on Figure 1. For example.08g. SEISMIC CONTEXT OF THE AFRICAN CONTINENT Studies of seismicity of different regions in Africa indicate that those areas close to the borders of the African plate are seismically active.4g. reinforcement ratios. east Africa along the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian and Red Seas to the east African rift system as well as the southern part of Africa. the yellow lines represent plate boundaries: African lithosphere junctions with Eurasian (EU). in terms of material characteristics.4 g and very high hazard areas with PGA over 0. low hazard areas are characterized with PGA less than 0. are the regions with high level of seismic activities.25g. An adaptation of these provisions would represent a minimum seismic protection in the absence of a proper seismic code. corresponding to PGA values expressed in m/sec2. corresponding to an earthquake with 475 years return period. The map depicts the seismic hazard as a peak ground acceleration (PGA) with a 10% chance of exceedance in 50 years. The minimum seismic requirement provided by the RPA99. Arabian (AR) and Antarctic (AN) plates.presented with a particular emphasis on the design and detailing of reinforced concrete which represent the final outcome of a seismic design. as well as some safety verifications are outlined. Figure 1 Seismicity of Africa 1990 – 2000 (USGS. Different colours on the map indicate the areas with different seismic hazard levels.

incurred severe damage to reinforced concrete buildings.Figure 2 Peak Ground Acceleration (m/s2) with 10% probability of exceedance in 50 years (GSHP) EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE TO CONCRETE BUILDINGS Recent major earthquakes that occurred in many locations in Africa. Among the main causes related directly or indirectly to concrete construction practice we can mention the following: − Large spacing of shear reinforcements in the columns near joint zones − Lack of shear reinforcements in nodal zones − Inappropriately designed short columns − Poor concrete strength and lack of confinement This fact implies that a tremendous effort is required to improve the seismic performance of reinforced concrete buildings in those parts of the continent. The performance of these buildings was poor with many total collapses.8 which hit the northern-centre part of Algeria was particularly damaging to reinforced concrete frame buildings with hollow brick masonry infill walls. in contrast to structures with reinforced concrete shear walls which endure slight damage (Figure 3). 2003 earthquake of a magnitude 6. The May 21. .

following the 1954 Orléansville (Chlef) earthquake (Ms 6. .3).Figure 3 Damaged reinforced concrete residential buildings ALGERIAN SEISMIC CODE Historical background After the devastating earthquake which stroke Algiers in 1716 and caused death to 20000 victims and severe damage to the majority of existing buildings. specific recommendations for seismic resistant buildings was issued for reconstruction by the Dey (Governor of Algiers) for the first time [1]. which was achieved two years later. Later. The results of this investigation were used as a basis for the development of the first version of the actual code which was issued just after the destructive 1980 El-Asnam (Chlef) earthquake (Ms 7. The RPA81 (Règles Parasismiques Algériennes) has been revised in 1988 (RPA88) and was also revised in 1999 (RPA99).8) disaster. the French government edited the seismic recommendations for construction called (AS 55) which became after revisions the French seismic code (PS69). In 1976 a study was launched with the collaboration of Stanford University to investigate the seismic risk in Algeria.

Each category is affected a numerical value of the behaviour coefficient. − Restriction on the number of storeys for buildings with reinforced concrete frames and recommends the use of concrete shear walls. The soil conditions are classified into four categories according to the geotechnical properties of the site which determine essentially the frequency range of the maximum level of the dynamic amplification factor for the equivalent static force or the design response spectra for the dynamic analysis. 2003 Boumerdes earthquake which amended the following clauses: − Subdivision of moderate seismicity zone into two sub-zones IIa and IIb − The seismic zoning map is revised to include the recently affected area in zone III. Although. is increased to 0. It recommends the type of soil investigation to be performed for specific cases and the foundation conception. − Restrictions on open space at the ground floor level to avoid the soft story problem − Strength of the cast-in-place concrete − The size of structural elements. Its purpose is to ensure that: − Non-structural damage is limited against frequent moderate earthquakes − Structural damage is limited (no collapse) against rare severe earthquakes − Vital constructions for civil protection remain operational after major earthquakes The RPA99 applies to the design and construction of buildings and some minor civil engineering works in seismic regions. Scope. the type of construction.35. the aptitude of load redistribution in the structure and the global ductility. marine works.40 from 0. the . General rules for conception are given to guide the engineer choosing the site of the project in order to avoid seismically hazardous locations. It should be noted that the latter is a classification which sets minimum protection thresholds that can be modified by a building owner only by over classifying the building for a higher protection level taking into account its nature and destination with regard to the aimed objectives. bridges. dams. tunnels and buried networks are not covered by the RPA99 provisions. classification criteria. especially the columns. namely: Seismic conceptual rules. Civil engineering works like nuclear power plants. materials specifications and construction technology. loading specifications with dynamic analysis methods. masonry and foundation. − The maximum value of the seismic zoning factor. safety verifications and finally the design and detailing for reinforced concrete. Finally directives for the arrangement of the lateral load resisting systems are suggested together with notions on element and global ductility enhancement. LNG facilities. Some recommendations on modelling and analysis terminate the first section of the seismic code. A.The last revision of the seismic code was made just after the May 21. The second section deals with the classification criteria of the seismic zones which determine the acceleration factor according to the construction importance. Objectives and field of application The RPA99 aims at giving an acceptable protection for human lives and constructions against the adverse effects of seismic actions through an appropriate design and detailing. the seismic code RPA99 is structured in a simple manner where we can distinguish five main parts. The structure of the seismic code As can be seen on the chart represented on figure 4. The classification of the lateral load resisting systems is made according to their reliability and their capacity of energy dissipation which depends on the constitutive materials. steel. seismic joints between adjacent blocks. Basic principles for seismic resisting constructions are then outlined in terms of configuration regularity.

The last paragraph of the classification chapter stipulates criteria for plan and height configuration regularity and irregularity. however.behaviour factors for a specific type of lateral load resisting system give the impression that they should be comparable in most seismic codes. the RPA99 specify the seismic loading as a global design base shear for the equivalent static force method and design response spectra for modal spectrum analysis method. there are significant differences in some cases. Like most seismic codes. probably due to local design and construction conditions and the seismic loading characteristics. RPA 99 R2003 General Seismic conception rules Classification criteria Seismic action and method of analysis Safety verification Design & Detailing Non-structural elements Scope and objectives Site selection Seismic zones Equivalent static force Combinations of actions Reinforced concrete structures Field of application Soil investigation and ground conditions Foundation Importance of construction Design response spectrum Resistance condition Steel structures Classes of the ground Ductility condition Masonry Structure Lateral load resisting systems Overturning and sliding condition Fountion and retaining walls Modeling and analysis Structural configuration (regularity) Resistance of horizontal diaphragms Resistance and stability of foundation Seismic joint condition P-Delta effect Lateral displacement condition Figure 4 Chart of the content of the seismic code RPA99 . The RPA99 recommends the use of the time history dynamic analysis method for structures that do not comply with the conditions of application of the code but it does not give specific procedure for determining the design ground acceleration time histories.

only high strength steel bars with an elastic strength limit less than 500 MPa and a minimum strain equal to 5% under maximum loading shall be used in primary elements. Material requirements Concrete of strength class 20MPa ≤ fck ≤ 45MPa should be used in primary elements. Finally. storey drift. the last chapter provides provisions for non-structural elements. Design and safety conditions Structural types and behaviour factors The values of the behaviour factor for the different types of lateral load systems are given in the table below. resistance of horizontal diaphragms and resistance of foundation.15 R value 5 3. Only monolithically cast-in-situ concrete buildings are addressed. For the purpose of the African Concrete Code.5 3.The results of the seismic analysis are then used to check the resistance and stability of the building using the safety verifications. masonry and foundation with retaining walls.5 3. SEISMIC DESIGN AND DETAILING OF REINFORCED CONCRETE IN SEISMIC ZONES The specific rules for concrete buildings of the RPA99 are first summarised. With the exceptions of closed stirrups and cross-ties. Structural type Frame system without infill rigid masonry Frame system with infill rigid masonry Shear wall system Shear wall core Dual system Wall equivalent dual system Cantilever system with uniformly distributed mass Inverted pendulum system Safety verifications For ultimate limit state verifications the partial factors for material properties are: Steel: γs=1 Concrete: γc = 1. First the combinations of the seismic load case with the different load cases are given followed by a set of requirements on deformation. Four chapters are dedicated to design and detailing of reinforced concrete. steel structure. resistance condition.5 5 4 2 2 . Scope The design and detailing of reinforced concrete section of RPA99 applies to buildings in seismic regions. The methodology to adapt them for the African concrete code will be then proposed. equilibrium condition. only the design and detailing of the reinforced concrete will be presented.

40 φ zone I and IIa .20 cm zone IIb and III .8% zone IIa .1 / 4 < b1/h1 < 4 all zones For circular cross sections.6% lap zone Minimum diameter of longitudinal reinforcement steel bars is 12mm Minimum lap length: .85 γc f ck Requirements for columns Minimum dimensions of columns are as follows: .Min (b1 .D ≥ he / 15. h1) ≥ 30 cm for zones IIb and III .25 cm zone I et II .D ≥ 30 cm zone IIa .0.50 φ zone IIb and III Distance between vertical bars along a face of a column should not be more than: .Min (b1 .D ≥ 35 cm zones IIb and III .7% zone I . h1) ≥ he/20 all zones .Min (b1 . h1) ≥ 25 cm for zones I and IIa .0.9% zone IIb and Zone III Maximum longitudinal reinforcement: .4% ordinary zone .D ≥ 25 cm zone I . all zones Figure 5 Column dimensions and critical (nodal) zone Longitudinal reinforcement Minimum longitudinal reinforcement: . the diameter D should satisfy the following conditions: .The design strength of concrete is fcd =0.0.

bending. Requirements for beams Dimensions requirements are: Column .h ≥ 30cm .h/b ≤ 4. h1 is the height of the crosssection. Special considerations are prescribed for shear resistance of short columns. Bc is the gross cross-section of the column. fs is the steel yield stress and ρ is a correction coefficient equal to 3. 10 ∅1) zone IIb and III Critical zone : s ≤ Min (10∅l.Lap zones should be if possible out of the critical zones. 15cm) s ≤ 10 cm.8% of the gross cross-section of the column depending on the slenderness ratio of the latter.0 .5h + b1 ≤ Max(b1 / 2.04 or 0.30 Bc f ck Nd is the axial force. Transverse reinforcement Transverse reinforcement of the columns is calculated using the following formula: At ρVu = s h1 f s A minimum transverse reinforcement lies between 0. shear forces from the analysis in the seismic design situation.75.3% and 0. using the value of the axial. h1/2. h1 / 2) Figure 5 Dimensions requirements for beams . h1 / 2) ≤ Max(b1 / 2. Vu is the shear force. Nd Axial force shall verify the condition: υ = ≤ 0.075 for slenderness ratio greater than 5. zone I and IIa zone IIb and III ∅1 is the minimal diameter of the longitudinal reinforcement of the column Resistances Flexural and shear resistance shall be computed in accordance with the Algerian Concrete Code CBA. At is the reinforcement cross-section. s is the spacing between the hoops and shall not exceed: s ≤ 15 ∅l zone I and IIa s ≤ Min (b1/2.bmax ≤ 1. The design shear stress is limited to: τ cu = ρ d f ck ρd is equal to 0. or 5 for slenderness ratio of the column greater than 5.b ≥ 20cm .

5%. shall not exceed h/2 out of the critical zone or min(h/4. the column and the joint Requirements for beam-column joints In order to ensure that plastic hinges will occur first in the beams. ≥50 φ S t h’ t’ l’ S’ h b t ≤ Min(10φ .Minimum longitudinal reinforcement is 0.3cm²) A2 A1 ≥ Max( A1' / 2. Al' / 4.003 s.b Where s is the spacing. and 50φ in seismic zone IIb and III.12φ) in critical zone (φ is the smallest longitudinal diameter). maximum reinforcement is 4% and 6% in lap zone.25 ( |Mw| + |Me| ) |M′n| + |M′s| ≥ 1. the beam and the joint. Figure 6 synthesises some details concerning the longitudinal and transverse reinforcement for the column. A / 4.60cm  6  h1 he S ≤ 15φ S ' ≤ Min(b1 / 2. Transverse reinforcement: At = 0. h1 . The minimum lap length is 40φ in seismic zone I and IIa. the following conditions need to be satisfied except for the last upper two storeys of buildings (optional): |Mn| + |Ms| ≥ 1. h1 / 2.3cm²) Al Figure 6 Reinforcement details of the beam.15cm) t ≤ 10cm l ' = 2h h  h' = Max e . b1 .10φ ) b1 A ' 1 A' ≥ Max( A1' / 4.25 ( |M′w| + |M′e| ) .

I. T-. fs Where z = h-2d' . Transverse reinforcement: a) Slender lintel: A f z s≤ t s V s is spacing.Mn M’n Mw Me M’w M’e Ms M’s Figure 7 Beam-column joint requirements Requirements for shear walls The thickness of the wall (in metre) should satisfy the following expression: a ≥ max(0.h is the total height of the lintel and d' is the concrete cover.06fck: The lintel is calculated as a flexural element which yields the following reinforcements: Longitudinal reinforcement M A1 ≥ z. At is the transverse reinforcement and V is the shear force of the considered section.V2) V2= 2Vu calculated . he/20) and a minimum length of 4a. b) Short lintel: At f s l s≤ V + At f s V = min (V1. Rules for stiffness and resistance calculation of composite wall sections consisting of connected or intersecting rectangular segments (L-.or similar sections) are given RPA99.2 f ck Lintel wall Reinforcement of lintel is considered for two cases: Case 1: τc ≤ 0.15. U-. the latter are limited by: τ c ≤ τ c = 0. In addition to the CBA verification of shear stresses.

025 fck : At > 0. AD is the total area of steel bars in each diagonal direction and α is the angle between the diagonal bars and the axis of the beam. the .20% Spandrel wall (free edge wall end) Flexural and shear resistances shall be computed exclusively in plane direction in accordance with the Algerian Concrete Code (CBA). as specified by the code.0025bs (0.0015bs ( 0.25%) c) Out of boundary elements reinforcement Total reinforcement for two layers in this region shall not be less than 0. If the latter is not verified.for τb > 0.15% ) .for τb ≤ 0. the minimum longitudinal and transverse reinforcement.lij With Mci and Mcj are the ultimate resisting moments of the end cross-sections of the lintel of length lij and calculated by: Mc = Al fsz V1 = M ci + M cj Case 2: τc >0. The resistance to seismic actions should be provided by reinforcement arranged along both diagonals (Figure 7) in accordance with the following expression: AD = V 2 f s sin α Where V is the design shear force.15%) b) Transverse reinforcement : . 10 10 A Fc A’l α Ft h Ac At S ≤ h/4 A ≥ h / 4 + 50φ b Figure 8 Diagonal reinforcement of lintel Minimum reinforcement a) Longitudinal reinforcement : (A l. will be used.025 fck : At ≥ 0. A'l) ≥ 0.06fck: In this case. provided that the above mentioned minimum dimensions and geometric configuration are satisfied.0015bh (0.

20%. Vertical reinforcement When a tension region in the wall is induced under combined vertical and horizontal forces. In case of high compression at the ends of the cross-section. Vertical bars in boundary elements should be tied by horizontal hoops with spacing less than the thickness of the wall. • Against sliding shear at horizontal construction joints should be resisted by anchorage length of clamping bars crossing the interface using the formula: V Avj = 1.calculation in both directions including out of plane direction should be performed in accordance with the DTR-BC 2. Vertical bars at the top level should terminate with hooks. Spacing of vertical bars at the ends of the wall cross-section should be reduced to half or 15 cm whichever is less over a length of 1/10 of the wall length (figure 9).1 fs This reinforcement quantity is to be added to the reinforcement resisting the tension force. then the tension force shall be resisted entirely by reinforcement. • The lap lengths are 40ø in tension zones and 20ø in only compression zones. the vertical reinforcement should comply with the provisions of columns. 2l'/3).4. the diameter of the vertical and horizontal bars should not be more than 1/10 of the wall thickness.5a or 30cm whichever is less. • The reinforcement layers in both sides should be engaged by at least 4 cross-ties /m2.15% over all cross-section of the wall and 0. Except the cross-section ends. Horizontal reinforcement Horizontal bars should be provided with 135° hook having 10ø long or an appropriate lap length. ≥ 4HA10 S/2 S a L/10 L L/10 Figure 9 Reinforcement of free-edge wall end .2 (Regulation for design of concrete walls). calculation should be performed using vertical strips of width d≤ min (he/2. he is the clear height of the wall.10% away from the boundary elements. l' is the length of the compression zone. The vertical reinforcement ratio in the tension zone should not be less than 0. • The spacing of the vertical bars should be less than 1. In this case. Provisions for vertical and horizontal reinforcement: • The minimum reinforcement ratio is 0.

the last earthquake which stroke the region of Algiers confirmed that shear wall systems had superior overall seismic resistance than the framed structures. Many practical provisions which are not explicitly dependant on specific seismic site conditions can be easily adopted and could enhance considerably the seismic behaviour of the elements and the structures. Standardization of seismic zones with uniform nominal peak ground acceleration. The seismic design detailing of reinforced concrete has been specifically exposed in details in order to demonstrate the possibility of extending the application at a continent level within the framework of the African Concrete Code to ensure a minimum seismic protection. adopting in an appendix to the concrete code the relevant seismic design and detailing issues in order to ensure a minimum seismic protection. 2. Although. These factors have minor effect on the design and detailing issues. 3.Slabs and diaphragms RPA99 emphasises only on horizontal ties of diaphragms with lateral load resisting elements. CONCLUSION This paper highlights the seismicity of the African continent to demonstrate the need for seismic provisions to be adopted for the African Concrete Code. it is indispensable for specific points to be thoroughly studied. Adjustment of minimum requirements in terms of dimensions. it is worthwhile. peripheral foundation walls and retaining walls are given in a separate chapter. Concrete foundation elements The design of concrete foundation elements such as tie beams. Many aspects in terms of minimum design detailing requirements might be readily adopted in a first step. it is recommended that only two seismic levels to be used and the minimum seismic requirements will be adjusted for these two levels. Adapt a set of behaviour factors for the common lateral load resisting systems to be refined on the basis of local experience feedback. For instance. as a first step. To help realise the above motioned points. The following points need to be considered in order to generalise the use of the seismic design and detailing provisions: 1. provided that some adjustments to be made. It states that concrete diaphragms should have a peripheral tie-beam with reinforcement crosssection not less than 3cm². reinforcement ratios.5cm² should be provided at intersections of lateral loading resisting element with the diaphragm. transverse reinforcement spacing. Adjustment of behaviour factors for the lateral load resisting systems. The Algerian experience and specifically the latest revision of the Algerian seismic code RPA99 is critically presented. Tie-beam with a minimum reinforcement of 1. most of recommendations and regulations as outlined above may generally be accepted for common seismic zones. . PERSPECTIVES OF THE AFRICAN CODE Considering that seismic code for the entire African continent is a major task that requires a tremendous effort to determine a harmonized seismic risk in all seismic regions. however.

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