Reinforced concrete building performance in the Mw 7.8 1931 Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, earthquake

  • G. van de Vorstenbosch Ian C Smith & Partners, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • A.W. Charleson Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, NZ
  • D.J. Dowrick GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

Abstract

This paper examines the seismic performance of over half of the existing low-rise reinforced concrete buildings that survived the 3 February 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake. Lateral resistance of these buildings is provided by reinforced concrete walls, unreinforced brick masonry infill frames and open reinforced concrete moment-resisting frames. Twenty-five buildings are analysed in both orthogonal directions for the lateral loads estimated to have occurred during the earthquake.

The probable shear and bending strengths of structural members are compared to the maximum calculated seismic shear forces and bending moments. Wall restoring moments are compared to overturning moments. Whereas analyses suggest that most structures should have been severely damaged during the earthquake, in fact they performed well. In most cases no structural damage to reinforced concrete members was reported. Asymmetric buildings performed about as well as symmetric buildings. Possible reasons for these observations are examined and it is recommended how current practice might reflect these findings. The paper also contributes to an approximate assessment procedure, based on ratios of structural cross-sectional area to ground floor area, and reports on the structural areas of buildings that performed well in the earthquake. The excellent seismic performance of reinforced concrete buildings during the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake suggests current earthquake engineering analyses of similar pre-1935 low-rise non-domestic reinforced concrete buildings may underrate their seismic performance.

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Published
2002-09-30
How to Cite
Vorstenbosch, G. van de, Charleson, A., & Dowrick, D. (2002). Reinforced concrete building performance in the Mw 7.8 1931 Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, earthquake . Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 35(3), 149-164. https://doi.org/10.5459/bnzsee.35.3.149-164
Section
Articles