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Building design solutions to improve safety during earthquakes

Precast concrete components can reduce the time, cost and disruption of construction projects while improving quality control compared to site-poured concrete. An EU initiative introduced better design rules that enhance safety during seismic events.

Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies

Current design procedures do not consider the stiffness of cladding panels that are fastened to the building's structural frame after concrete placement. This omission has led to catastrophic consequences in recent violent earthquakes. The EU-backed SAFECLADDING (Improved fastening systems of cladding wall panels of precast buildings in seismic zones) project addressed the urgent need for more comprehensive design approaches. Work began by mapping former related EU-funded projects and by identifying, studying and modifying different design solutions. This led to the definition of four solutions for which design guidelines were ultimately prepared. Project partners focused on examining the seismic behaviour of precast cladding wall systems in precast buildings. As a result of extensive tests, studies and analysis, they gained knowledge of the actual behaviour of connectors and the availability of appropriate analytical and design tools. Specifically, the SAFECLADDING team clarified the seismic behaviour of precast structures with cladding wall panels and proposed design solutions for correct dimensioning of fastening systems. This helps to ensure optimal enhanced reliability and performance of the precast concrete structures throughout their service life. Lastly, design guidelines were produced based on extensive numerical analyses. Two documents were prepared, one each for the design of the connection and the structure overall. A series of tests were performed, as well as full experimental characterisation of existing and new connection behaviour. SAFECLADDING's design solutions will improve the safety of people living or working in precast building structures in the event of natural disasters such as earthquakes. It should also boost the competitiveness of the European precast construction industry.


SAFECLADDING, fastening systems, cladding wall panels, precast buildings, seismic behaviour

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