Building Design for Abnormal Loads and Progressive Collapse

May 30, 2005
Publication: Journal of Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering v 20 n 3 p 194-205
Author(s): Donald Dusenberry Ellingwood B.R.

Abstract: A progressive collapse is a structural failure that is initiated by localized structural damage and subsequently develops, as a chain reaction, into a failure that involves a major portion of the structural system. The collapse of the Ronan Point Tower in Canning Town, London, United Kingdom in May, 1968 prompted numerous efforts to develop structural design criteria for progressive collapse resistance. A series of papers and reports appeared in the decade following the Ronan Point collapse, and attempts were made to implement provisions addressing progressive collapse and enhancing general structural integrity in codes and standards. Improved building practices and design procedures to control the likelihood of progressive collapse now are receiving heightened interest by engineers, architects, and standards organizations in the aftermath of the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Advances in the science underlying structural design and the development of structural reliability and risk analysis tools now permit design strategies that would have been considered infeasible 30 years ago. This article provides a critical appraisal of key research products that provide a basis for designing a structural system to withstand local damage without the development of a general structural collapse, and identifies strategies that currently are feasible to implement in the General Design Requirements in ASCE Standard 7, minimum design loads for buildings, and other structures. The article concludes with a discussion of research challenges to further enhancement of design practices, with particular emphasis on needed support for structural engineering analysis and design from advanced computation and information technologies.