A practice-oriented method for estimating elastic floor response spectra

  • Kieran Haymes University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  • Timothy Sullivan University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  • Reagan Chandramohan University of Canterbury, New Zealand


A practice-oriented modal superposition method for setting elastic floor acceleration response spectra is proposed in this paper. The approach builds on previous contributions in the literature, making specific recommendations to explicitly consider floor displacement response spectra and accounts for uncertainty in modal characteristics. The method aims to provide reliable predictions which improve on existing code methods but maintain simplicity to enable adoption in practical design. This work is motivated by recent seismic events which have illustrated the significant costs that can be incurred following damage to secondary and nonstructural components within buildings, even where the structural system has performed well. This has prompted increased attention to the seismic performance of nonstructural components with questions being raised about the accuracy of design floor acceleration response spectra used in practice. By comparing floor acceleration response spectra predicted by the proposed method with those recorded from instrumented buildings in New Zealand, it is shown that the proposed approach performs well, particularly if a good estimate of the building’s fundamental period of vibration is available.


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How to Cite
Haymes, K., Sullivan, T., & Chandramohan, R. (2020). A practice-oriented method for estimating elastic floor response spectra. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 53(3), 116-136. https://doi.org/10.5459/bnzsee.53.3.116-136