Effects of coupled vertical stiffness-strength irregularity due to modified interstorey height

  • Vinod K. Sadashiva University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Gregory A. MacRae University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3011-5146
  • Bruce L. Deam University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand


Structures may have vertical stiffness or strength irregularity for many reasons. In many practical cases, a change in storey stiffness, results a change in strength at the same storey. In this paper, the effect of a change in interstorey height is quantified. In order to do this, relationships between storey stiffness and strength resulting due to a modified interstorey height for a few common lateral force resisting systems was considered. It was applied to simple shear-type structures of 3, 5, 9 and 15 storeys, assumed to be located in Wellington. All structures were considered to have a constant mass at every floor level. Both regular and irregular structures were designed in accordance with the Equivalent Static method of the current New Zealand seismic design Standard, NZS 1170.5. Regular structures were designed to either (i) produce a constant target interstorey drift ratio at all the storeys simultaneously or (ii) to have uniform stiffness distribution over the height of the structure, with the target interstorey drift ratio at the first storey. An “interstorey height ratio” was defined as the ratio of modified to initial interstorey height, and applied separately at the first storey, mid-height storey and at the topmost storey by amounts between 0.5 and 3. The modified structures were then redesigned until the target interstorey drift ratio was achieved at the critical storey/storeys. Design structural ductility factors of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, and target (design) interstorey drift ratios ranging between 0.5% and 3%, were used in this study. Inelastic dynamic time-history analysis was carried out by subjecting these structures to code design level earthquake records, and the maximum interstorey drift ratio demands due to each record were used to compare the responses of regular and irregular structures.

It was found that structural types in which only the storey stiffness was modified due to a change in the interstorey height produced the maximum increase in drift demands rather than structural forms with other stiffness-strength coupling cases. Shorter structures having an increased first storey height, and taller structures with an increased middle storey height generally produced greater interstorey drift demands than regular structures. For cases of increased storey stiffness due to decreased storey heights, the shorter structures with a decreased middle storey height resulted in higher median peak ISDR due to irregularity. A simple equation describing the maximum increase in response due to modifications to a storey height was developed. The equation was used along with the realistic correlations between storey stiffness and strength to obtain the governing code regularity limit.


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How to Cite
Sadashiva, V. K., MacRae, G. A., & Deam, B. L. (2011). Effects of coupled vertical stiffness-strength irregularity due to modified interstorey height. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 44(1), 31-44. https://doi.org/10.5459/bnzsee.44.1.31-44

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