Observations on Structural Pounding

by Vitelmo V. Bertero, Univ of California, Berkeley, CA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: The Mexico Earthquakes—1985: Factors Involved and Lessons Learned


In over 40% of the collapsed or severely damaged buildings in Mexico City, pounding of adjacent buildings occurred, and in at least 15% was the primary cause of collapse. The main objectives of this paper are to identify and discuss the primary causes of pounding of adjacent engineered buildings; and to assess their observed performance in regard to improving the earthquake-resistant design and construction of new adjacent buildings and retrofitting existing ones where separation appears to be inadequate. The primary cause for the severe pounding was the insufficient separation between these adjacent buildings and the main reasons for this insufficiency are identified. Comparison of Mexico and U. S. earthquake regulations indicates that if buildings would be designed and constructed to satisfy just the minimum code requirements, and if ground motions like those recorded at SCT could occur in the U. S. cities, the problem of pounding between adjacent buildings located in soft soils could be even more serious in the U. S. than in Mexico City.

Subject Headings: Building codes | Earthquake resistant structures | Dynamic structural analysis | Seismic design | Building design | Load and resistance factor design | Ground motion | Damage (structural) | Mexico City | Mexico

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