Special Issue "Building Failures"

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A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 September 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Professor M. Kevin Parfitt (Website)

Department of Architectural Engineering, Penn State University, 104 Engineering Unit A, University Park, PA 16802, USA
Phone: +1 814 863 3244
Fax: +1 814 863 4789
Interests: building structural and architectural systems failures; building performance; forensic engineering and practice; failures education; building failures case studies; failures information dissemination and disaster studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Society is fortunate that in most countries, complete building collapses are a relatively rare occurrence.  However, if you use the definition of failure to be any building system or component that does not perform as expected then building failures are much more commonplace not to mention costly to repair.  Thus we see that building failures examples include water penetration of the roof and building envelope, façade failures, performance issues such as excessive deflection or floor vibration, failure of fire proofing concepts to protect the building structure or occupants, premature corrosion and deterioration of building material components as well as the more recognized cases of building collapse from overload, design and construction defects and collapse during construction operations. For this special issue of Buildings authors are invited to submit papers on all aspects of building failures related to structural, architectural and MEP systems failures as discussed above.   Research papers as well as case studies, especially those that describe unique aspects of investigation, repair and lessons learned, are welcomed. Papers describing unique and successful dissemination of failure case study results to educate the profession as well as discussions on how to successfully teach failures in the Academy are appropriate to the overall theme of this issue.

Professor M. Kevin Parfitt
Guest Editor

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Why Buildings Fail: Are We Learning From Our Mistakes?
Buildings 2012, 2(3), 326-331; doi:10.3390/buildings2030326
Received: 30 August 2012 / Accepted: 31 August 2012 / Published: 5 September 2012
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Abstract
Most building professionals have investigated or performed remedial designs for at least one architectural or engineering system failure during their careers. Other practitioners, especially those who work for forensic consultants or firms specializing in disaster response and repair, are more familiar with [...] Read more.
Most building professionals have investigated or performed remedial designs for at least one architectural or engineering system failure during their careers. Other practitioners, especially those who work for forensic consultants or firms specializing in disaster response and repair, are more familiar with the variety and extent of building failures as they assist their clients in restoring damaged or deficient buildings. The advent of social medial and twenty-four-hour news channels along with the general ease of finding more examples of failures in the Internet have made us realize that building failures in the broad sense are much more common than we may have realized.Relatively recent events leading to building failures such as the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquakes, the roof/parking deck of the Algo Centre mall in the northern Ontario, Canada city of Elliot Lake and the Indiana State Fairground stage collapse in the US are just a few reminders that much more work needs to be done on a variety of fronts to prevent building failures from a life safety standpoint. The need is compounded by economic concerns from what would be considered more mundane or common failures. Inspections by the author after Hurricane Katrina revealed a huge number of failures associated rain water alone as roofs, windows, flashing, mechanical penetrations etc. failed leading to interior water penetration often resulting in more damage from damp conditions and mold propagation than outright structural collapses. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Failures)

Research

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Open AccessArticle The 2011 Earthquake in Simav, Turkey and Seismic Damage to Reinforced Concrete Buildings
Buildings 2013, 3(1), 173-190; doi:10.3390/buildings3010173
Received: 6 November 2012 / Revised: 4 January 2013 / Accepted: 15 January 2013 / Published: 6 February 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1651 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Reinforced concrete buildings suffered significant damage in the region affected by the 29 May 2011 earthquake in Simav (Kutahya), Turkey. Typical building damage is classified and potential causes of damage are investigated. Reinforced concrete moment resisting frames with hollow brick infill walls [...] Read more.
Reinforced concrete buildings suffered significant damage in the region affected by the 29 May 2011 earthquake in Simav (Kutahya), Turkey. Typical building damage is classified and potential causes of damage are investigated. Reinforced concrete moment resisting frames with hollow brick infill walls are the most common structural system in and around the Simav city center while masonry construction is common in rural areas. Although the Simav earthquake, with a magnitude of 5.7 to 5.9, can be classified as a moderate earthquake, many buildings experienced damage varying from frequent diagonal cracking and brittle failure of infill walls to collapse or severe damage to frames due to short columns, soft stories or other reasons including insufficient or poor detailing of reinforcement. This study investigates and presents the seismicity of the region, characteristics of the measured ground motions, seismic load demands including response spectra, and damage mechanisms, potential causes and classification of observed damage in reinforced concrete buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Failures)
Open AccessArticle Construction Failures and Innovative Retrofitting
Buildings 2013, 3(1), 100-121; doi:10.3390/buildings3010100
Received: 10 October 2012 / Revised: 4 January 2013 / Accepted: 15 January 2013 / Published: 21 January 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2900 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this paper is twofold: (a) to briefly describe the damage caused to historical, residential and industrial buildings by the May 2012 seismic events in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy; and (b) to summarize novel repair and rehabilitation technologies [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is twofold: (a) to briefly describe the damage caused to historical, residential and industrial buildings by the May 2012 seismic events in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy; and (b) to summarize novel repair and rehabilitation technologies that can be available to practitioners to fix damaged structures or to upgrade undamaged ones. Field inspections after the Emilia Romagna earthquakes showed that seismic vulnerability in that region was primarily due to the lack of seismic detailing in modern buildings, and the presence of heavy nonstructural masses in historical buildings. The novel retrofit technologies discussed in this paper are based on the use of non-conventional or relatively recent material systems where the reinforcement is in the form of continuous or chopped fibers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Failures)
Open AccessArticle Robustness Assessment of Building Structures under Explosion
Buildings 2012, 2(4), 497-518; doi:10.3390/buildings2040497
Received: 7 October 2012 / Revised: 20 November 2012 / Accepted: 3 December 2012 / Published: 11 December 2012
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (3853 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Over the past decade, much research has focused on the behaviour of structures following the failure of a key structural component. Particular attention has been given to sudden column loss, though questions remain as to whether this event-independent scenario is relevant to [...] Read more.
Over the past decade, much research has focused on the behaviour of structures following the failure of a key structural component. Particular attention has been given to sudden column loss, though questions remain as to whether this event-independent scenario is relevant to actual extreme events such as explosion. Few studies have been conducted to assess the performance of floor slabs above a failed column, and the computational tools used have not been validated against experimental results. The research program presented in this paper investigates the adequacy of sudden column loss as an idealisation of local damage caused by realistic explosion events, and extends prior work by combining the development of accurate computational models with large-scale testing of a typical floor system in a prototypical steel-framed structure. The floor system consists of corrugated decking topped by a lightly reinforced concrete slab that is connected to the floor beams through shear studs. The design is consistent with typical building practices in the US. The first test has been completed, and subsequent tests are currently being planned. This paper addresses the importance of robustness design for localized damage and includes a detailed description regarding how the research program advances the current state of knowledge for assessing robustness of compositely constructed steel-framed buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Failures)
Open AccessArticle Systematic Study of the Failure of a Light-Frame Wood Roof in a Tornado
Buildings 2012, 2(4), 519-533; doi:10.3390/buildings2040519
Received: 28 August 2012 / Revised: 21 November 2012 / Accepted: 3 December 2012 / Published: 11 December 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (6949 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tornadoes are a particularly devastating natural hazard that affect communities across the United States, particularly the Midwest and South. They are unique from an engineering point-of-view due to their very low probability of occurrence but often highly destructive consequences. The 2011 season [...] Read more.
Tornadoes are a particularly devastating natural hazard that affect communities across the United States, particularly the Midwest and South. They are unique from an engineering point-of-view due to their very low probability of occurrence but often highly destructive consequences. The 2011 season was particularly devastating to the Southeastern portion of the U.S. This paper presents a single case study of a 2012 tornado that struck a single large rural light-frame wood house with an unconventional roof system. A fragility methodology was used as a tool to probabilistically study the loss of the roof system, and bound an Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale rating of the tornado. The tornado was initially rated as an EF3 tornado by the U.S. National Weather Service. However, following a detailed site inspection verified with numerical structural models, the tornado was downgraded to an EF2 tornado. As expected, the use of nail connections in a roof-to-wall connection resulted in a weaker link compared to a hurricane clip. The approach presented in this paper can be used as a supplement to the EF rating provided by U.S. National Weather Service meteorologists when unusual conditions in either the structure or surroundings exists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Failures)
Open AccessArticle Fatigue-Prone Details in Steel Bridges
Buildings 2012, 2(4), 456-476; doi:10.3390/buildings2040456
Received: 31 August 2012 / Revised: 1 November 2012 / Accepted: 2 November 2012 / Published: 12 November 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3816 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper reviews the results of a comprehensive investigation including more than 100 fatigue damage cases, reported for steel and composite bridges. The damage cases are categorized according to types of detail. The mechanisms behind fatigue damage in each category are identified [...] Read more.
This paper reviews the results of a comprehensive investigation including more than 100 fatigue damage cases, reported for steel and composite bridges. The damage cases are categorized according to types of detail. The mechanisms behind fatigue damage in each category are identified and studied. It was found that more than 90% of all reported damage cases are of deformation-induced type and generated by some kind of unintentional or otherwise overlooked interaction between different load-carrying members or systems in the bridge. Poor detailing, with unstiffened gaps and abrupt changes in stiffness at the connections between different members were also found to contribute to fatigue cracking in many details. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Failures)
Open AccessArticle Blast Analysis of Laminated Glass Curtain Walls Equipped by Viscoelastic Dissipative Devices
Buildings 2012, 2(3), 359-383; doi:10.3390/buildings2030359
Received: 5 June 2012 / Revised: 8 August 2012 / Accepted: 30 August 2012 / Published: 18 September 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (794 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nonlinear numerical simulations are reported for a conventional unitized laminated glass curtain wall subjected to high- and low-level air blast loading. The studied curtain wall, spanning floor to floor, consisted of a laminated glass panel, a continuous bead of structural silicone sealant, [...] Read more.
Nonlinear numerical simulations are reported for a conventional unitized laminated glass curtain wall subjected to high- and low-level air blast loading. The studied curtain wall, spanning floor to floor, consisted of a laminated glass panel, a continuous bead of structural silicone sealant, a split screw spline frame and four rigid brackets. Firstly, a linear elastic FE-model (M01) is presented to investigate dynamic stresses and deflections due to explosion, by taking into account geometrical nonlinearities. Since, in similar glazing systems, it is important to take into account the possible cracking of glass lites, a second model (M02), calibrated to previous experimental data, is proposed. In it, glass behaves as a brittle-elastic material, whereas an elastoplastic characteristic curve is assumed for mullions. As a result, the design explosion seriously affects the main components of the curtain wall, especially the bead of silicone. To address these criticalities, additional viscoelastic (VE) devices are installed at the frame corners (M03). Their effectiveness explains the additional deformability provided to the conventional curtain wall, as well as the obvious dissipation of the incoming energy due to blast loading. Structural and energy capabilities provided by devices are highlighted by means of numerical simulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Failures)
Open AccessArticle Contemporary Issues in Building Collapse and Its Implications for Sustainable Development
Buildings 2012, 2(3), 283-299; doi:10.3390/buildings2030283
Received: 9 May 2012 / Revised: 16 June 2012 / Accepted: 4 July 2012 / Published: 25 July 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (545 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines contemporary issues in building collapse and its implications for sustainable development in Nigeria. It explores whether the approach to construction by industry stakeholders is in line with the principles of sustainable development following the spate of building collapses in [...] Read more.
This paper examines contemporary issues in building collapse and its implications for sustainable development in Nigeria. It explores whether the approach to construction by industry stakeholders is in line with the principles of sustainable development following the spate of building collapses in Nigeria. The rationale for the investigation stems from the view by scholars that construction industry stakeholders’ do not seem to consider the future in their current activities. The study establishes that the approach to construction by industry stakeholders do not match sustainable principles, and contributes to general under perforxmance of buildings. The paper recommends an overhaul of planning and implementation policies for building development regulations (e.g., building codes). The Nigerian government, as a major construction stakeholder should initiate sustainable construction measures and enforce this as best practice for the construction industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Failures)

Other

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Open AccessCase Report Natatorium Building Enclosure Deterioration Due to Moisture Migration
Buildings 2012, 2(4), 534-541; doi:10.3390/buildings2040534
Received: 7 September 2012 / Revised: 28 November 2012 / Accepted: 4 December 2012 / Published: 12 December 2012
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Abstract
The natatorium enclosure at the Avon Recreation Center in Avon, Colorado experienced significant deterioration of the CMU façade due to moisture carried by humid air from the interior of the space into the wall assembly. This situation was caused by a combination [...] Read more.
The natatorium enclosure at the Avon Recreation Center in Avon, Colorado experienced significant deterioration of the CMU façade due to moisture carried by humid air from the interior of the space into the wall assembly. This situation was caused by a combination of an insufficient interior air and vapor barrier along with an HVAC system that failed to provide negative pressurization to the space. This case study describes the investigation carried out to determine the causes of wall and roof deterioration at the building, and details the repair efforts undertaken. Lessons learned are presented to help designers, building owners, and maintenance personnel prevent similar problems from occurring in their buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Failures)

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