BIM & Earthquake Engineering; Enabling Structural Engineers to Design & Build Strong Structures

Sep 21, 2016 -- Earthquake engineering has become an important aspect of structural engineering, especially after the recent seismic incidents that took place in Chile, Mexico or New Zealand. These events shook the engineers from within and they are now expected to deliver stronger structure that can withstand such hazards. 

With latest tools and technology and of course BIM analysis methods, it will now be easier for engineers to design or build more earthquake resistant buildings. So what is seismic analysis and how can BIM analysis aid engineers for it?  Calculating the response of a building structure during earthquake is what seismic analysis method is all about. Structural engineers are to perform seismic analysis so that they can build a robust building structure.

BIM is at the very tender stage for fortification analysis. The current BIM tools are not advanced enough to run multiple fortification analysis to refine the results with different sorts of methods. What lacks is the sheer integration between BIM and analysis model.

For instance, the Design model utilized for construction documentation needs to be channeled from BIM model to analysis model. It is also necessary that you exchange these models through firm’s software suite, so that there is no disconnect. However, BIM Models can still make a lot of difference in building fortification such as for,

Retrofitting the building structure damaged due to seismic events

Civil engineers have been working on BIM for mega infrastructure projects. With advanced laser scanning methodology and point cloud to BIM services, utilizing BIM for seismic retrofitting enhances the work efficiency.

Accurate 3D models can be generated through UAV and HD cameras that can capture all required data with extreme precision. The detailed 3D structural models, enables simulating roads, bridges, highways and any urban infra facility for seismic impacts it can have during seismic hazards.

BIM and codes go hand in hand

It is extremely necessary that all seismic requirements are taken care of to avoid any design alteration in further phases of projects, and BIM makes sure it does. It is also significant to meet the terms dictated for seismic specification, and hence 3D views are extremely crucial while observing the same.

Basically, BIM can validate code, identify where the sleeve and penetration are required and can model any required element. With marching technologies and digitization, more software are delivering accesses to their API s to systemize the task and streamline the code compliance process. Not only this, BIM workflow can enhance design process by identifying potential hazards at the time of design build stages and how the system nay react during this stage. 

Resisting Earthquakes with Other Methods:

By reducing lateral forces imparted on structure, you can build strong structure that can resist earthquake forces. Also, Wave dampening method can also be applied as it reduces building sway, thereby guarding the structure during seismic event. Base isolators and roller bearing plays important part in offering the resistance the structure needs by imparting friction and changing frequency vibration.

For complex designs structures, to reduce the lateral loadings, TMD (Tuned Mass Dampers) that weigh tons are fitted to reduce the vibration of the system with a light weight element so that worst case vibration are less intense, thereby protecting the structure from seismic and wind loading. These structural systems need intense analysis approach to assure the safety of build structure.

Seismic Analysis and Simulation

There are end number of tools out there that enables engineers to leverage a 3D model for seismic analysis and simulation. Engineers can simulate the structure through structural phases such as Loading, inclusive of seismic event by methods such as applied element method, which can trace structural collapse behavior through different cycles of loading, reinforcement yielding and proliferation in brittle materials.

Engineers can use this approach beyond building structures, reaching out to infrastructure facilities as well. For deducing distribution of seismic-based shear force on the height of regular, multistory building, Equivalent lateral force method can be taken into consideration by engineers.

BIM is increasingly seen as an important tool to develop building structures that are earthquake resistant. Integrating simulation tools further help engineers to predict the state of the structure design under the influence of a seismic event.

As an experienced BIM solution provider, we foresee BIM to have an ability of performing all the analyses under one single integrated model. This will enhance the earthquake engineering and lead structural engineers to design and build better, strong structures.

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