Seismic assessment and improvement of unreinforced stone masonry buildings
Literature review and application to New Zealand
Following the 2010/2011 Canterbury earthquakes considerable effort was applied to the task of developing industry guidance for the seismic assessment, repair and strengthening of unreinforced masonry buildings. The recently updated “Section 10” of NZSEE 2006 is one of the primary outputs from these efforts, in which a minor amount of information is introduced regarding vintage stone unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings. Further information is presented herein to extend the resources readily available to New Zealand practitioners regarding load-bearing stone URM buildings via a literature review of the traditional European approach to this topic and its applicability to the New Zealand stone URM building stock.
An informative background to typical stone URM construction is presented, including population, geometric, structural and material characteristics. The European seismic vulnerability assessment procedure is then reported, explaining each step in sequence of assessment by means of preliminary inspection (photographic, geometric, structural and crack pattern surveys) and investigation techniques, concluding with details of seismic improvement interventions. The challenge in selecting the appropriate intervention for each existing URM structure is associated with reconciling the differences between heritage conservation and engineering perspectives to reinstating the original structural strength. Traditional and modern techniques are discussed herein with the goal of preserving heritage values and ensuring occupant safety. A collection of Annexes are provided that summarise the presented information in terms of on-site testing, failure mechanisms and seismic improvement.
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