Assessment of hollow-core floors for seismic performance (2010)
Type of ContentReports
PublisherCivil and Natural Resources Engineering
University of Canterbury. Civil and Natural Resources Engineering
- Engineering: Reports 
The objective in writing this report is to provide a guide to structural engineers on how to assess the potential seismic performance of existing hollow-core floors in buildings and the steps involved in the design of new floors. Hollow-core units in New Zealand do not contain stirrups within the precast concrete section. This is due to the way that they are manufactured. The only reinforcement in the great majority of hollow-core units consists of pretensioned strands that are located close to the soffit. A consequence of this is that hollow-core units have a number of potential brittle failure modes that can occur when adverse structural actions are induced in the units. These adverse actions can be induced in a major earthquake due to the relative vertical, horizontal and rotational displacements that occur between hollow-core units and adjacent structural elements, such as beams or structural walls. A number of large scale structural tests backed up by analytical research has shown that extensive interaction occurs between floors containing prestressed precast units and other structural elements, such as walls and beams. The constraint that prestressed units in a floor can apply to adjacent beams can result in an increase in strength of the beams to a considerably greater strength than that indicated in editions of the New Zealand Structural Concrete Standard published prior to 2006. The extent of this increase is such that it could in some cases result in the development of a non-ductile failure mechanism instead of the ductile failure mechanism assumed in the design. Prestressed floor units tie the floor bays together leaving a weak section where the floor joins to supporting structural elements. The restraint provided by the prestress restricts the opening of cracks within the bay. In the event of an earthquake this restraint can result in wide cracks developing at some of the boundaries to floor bays. These cracks may have a significant influence on the performance of the floor when it acts as a diaphragm to transfer seismic forces to the lateral force resisting structural elements in the building. The report contains details of; 1. The different failure modes, which may be induced in hollow-core floors, and the failure modes that may develop in a buildings due to the presence of hollow-core units in the floors; 2. Criteria that may be used to assess the magnitude of the design earthquake which may be safely resisted by a hollow-core floor in a building; 3. Details of how construction practice related to the use of hollow-core floors in New Zealand has changed over the last five decades. This highlights particular aspects that need to be considered in carrying out an assessment of existing hollow-core floors; 4. Information on how a new hollow-core floor may be designed to be consistent with the Earthquake Actions Standard, NZS1170.5: 2004 and the Structural Concrete Standard, NZS3101: 2006 (plus Amendment 2); 5. A review of the research findings relevant to the behaviour of New Zealand hollow-core floors under earthquake conditions. Research that was used to develop the assessment and design criteria is described together with details of how the different criteria were developed from this work.
CitationFenwick, R., Bull, D.K., Gardiner, D. (2010) Assessment of hollow-core floors for seismic performance. University of Canterbury. 164pp..
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Sarkis Fernandez, Ana Isabel; Sullivan, Timothy; Brunesi, Emanuele; Nascimbene, Roberto (2019)Precast pre-stressed hollow-core (PPHC) floors have been historically designed and constructed in ways that jeopardize their seismic performance. Particularly, early use of PPHC floors in ductile frames had support connections ...
Woods, Lisa Joy (University of Canterbury. Civil and Natural Resources Engineering, 2008)Hollow-core flooring units are designed as simply supported members. However, frequently in construction, continuity is established between the units and supporting structure by the addition of insitu topping concrete and ...
Woods, L.J.; Fenwick, R.C.; Bull, D.K. (University of Canterbury. Civil and Natural Resources Engineering, 2008)Hollow-core flooring units, as described in the technical literature, are intended to be used as simply supported members. However, in construction continuity is often established between the units and supporting structure ...