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Introduction to the design of multi-storey buildings: part 2


To discuss structural arrangements in multi-storey buildings with particular reference to resisting lateral loads.


This lecture discusses different structural systems (shear frame, shear truss-frame, steel-concrete, tube, etc.). Particular comment is made with regard to ultra high-rise buildings and seismic effects.


The use of structural steels in the last century permitted a great increase in the height of building constructions leading to modern high-rise buildings.

For low-rise buildings, the most common structural solution is obtained by integrating two different load resisting systems in the same structure:

  • semi-rigid or pinned frames, which resist vertical actions only
  • steel bracings or concrete walls and cores, which resist horizontal actions

By means of the so-called 'fourth dimension of steel construction' (which introduces, besides the three geometrical dimensions, the range of available material strength), it is possible to unify the cross-sections of members and, therefore, to obtain optimum and economic solutions for a range of building forms.

For high-rise buildings (up to 120 storeys), different structural systems are used according to the height range:

  • up to 30 storeys: concrete wall or core systems
  • from 30 to 60 storeys: frame systems
  • above 60 storeys: tube systems

For 'braced' steel frames, different types of bracing can be used according to the structural and functional requirements.

Appropriate calculation models for multi-storey buildings can be used for pin-ended structures and truss bracings.

For seismic-resistant steel structures, an excellent performance in terms of strength and ductility can be obtained. The design requirements in such cases correspond to three given limit states: serviceability, resistance to damage, and prevention of collapse.

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