Differential Settlement of Buildings

by Rebecca Grant, (A.M.ASCE), Engr.; Goldberg-Zoino & Assoc., Inc., Newton Upper Falls, MA,
John T. Christian, (M.ASCE), Consultant; Geotechnical Div., Stone & Webster Engrg. Corp., Boston, MA,
Erik H. Vanmarcke, (A.M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Massachusetts Inst. of Tech., Cambridge, MA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Geotechnical Engineering Division, 1974, Vol. 100, Issue 9, Pg. 973-991

Document Type: Journal Paper


Published case histories of differential settlement reveal a relation between the maximum measured differential settlement and damage to buildings. This relation, first proposed by Skempton and MacDonald, is found to be reasonably valid for a much larger number and variety of buildings described since their original survey. In applying their criterion for damage, it is important to remove the effects of rigid body motions. The paper analyzes extensive settlement and differential settlement data for a wide range of soils and structures. A more complicated indicator of structural distortion involving the settlements at three points is also consistent with the damage information, but it seems to fit the data no better than does Skempton and MacDonald's simpler relation.

Subject Headings: Soil settlement | Structural settlement | Differential settlement | Case studies | Damage (structural) | Rigid body dynamics | Soil analysis | Geomatic surveys

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