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Posted on 2014-07-14

Topics: ASCE 7-10, Seismic Provisions, Wind Provisions

Here are a few questions we have received regarding drift and whether or not there are drift requirements for wind design:

Q. I have confusion regarding load combinations to be used for calculating drift for buildings. ASCE 7-10 Section 12.8.6 requires: “Where allowable stress design is used, Δ shall

be computed using the strength level seismic forces specified in Section 12.8 without reduction for allowable stress design.”

A. Ever since strength-level (as opposed to service-level) design earthquake forces were introduced in the 1997 Uniform Building Code (UBC), as indicated by a load factor of 1.0 on E in strength design load combinations, it has been required that drift computations be done directly under those strength-level forces. The drift limits were adjusted accordingly. You never reduce the strength-level design earthquake forces to service-level forces for the purposes of drift computation. This is true of the 1997 UBC, all editions of the IBC, and all editions of ASCE 7 since 1993. The language cited from ASCE 7-10 is telling us exactly this.

Q. I have a question regarding allowable drift in shear walls. I know what the allowable drift is for seismic loading, but cannot seem to find what it is for wind loading. Can you

help me? Is it the .02H but without the C d or a smaller C d ? I have looked everywhere I can think of and still can't find it.

A. There is no drift limit requirement in the code for wind design. There are various design office practices and suggested limitations, but no code requirements. Please note that Appendix C to ASCE 7 addresses serviceability considerations and includes recommendations for drift limitations for wind design as well as the respective wind loads that should be used for the purpose of checking drift.

Q: I am thinking that H/180 to H/200 is acceptable for drift for wind design. Do you mind telling me what your office policy is?

A: We deal mostly with concrete buildings and this is what we would recommend: A top deflection (total, not interstory) equal to building height over 500 or less is acceptable. Anything more is too flexible. We have seen people go down to H/400, or even H/350 (particularly with steel buildings). That's already quite flexible. If you were thinking of H/200, that simply won't do. In concrete, of course, much depends on how the deflection is calculated. One needs to make realistic stiffness assumptions. Also, for drift check, most engineers consider it reasonable to use wind loads corresponding to a shorter return period than is used in the strength design of a structure. This topic will be discussed in more detail in a future blog.

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