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Re: Structure Magazine Questions - Retaining walls[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
- To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
- Subject: Re: Structure Magazine Questions - Retaining walls
- From: "Bill Sherman" <SHERMANWC(--nospam--at)cdm.com>
- Date: 11 Jan 99 10:08:32 -0500
> Q: Can the safety factor for overturning of a retaining wall be > reduced below 1.5 when analyzed subjected to seismic forces (i.e. > 1.5/1.33)? Based on a literal reading of the wording in the 1997 UBC, I would say "no". Section 1611.6 requires a safety factor of at least 1.5 and does not exempt seismic load cases. Allowable stresses should then be based on load combinations in Section 1612.3.1. When permitted by this section, the one-third increase in allowable stresses for materials should be allowed but there is no provision to reduce the overturning and sliding factors of safety. As some others have pointed out, code prescribed seismic forces are generally less than the actual expected forces and rely somewhat on ductility of the structure. However, I also think that it is true that overturning of structures is not a common failure mode due to seismic forces. This is likely due to the fact that seismic motions reverse before a structure reaches full overturning in one direction. It is interesting to note that UBC Section 1621.1 requires that overturning due to wind not exceed 2/3 of the dead-load resisting moment, but I don't believe that there is a similar requirement for lateral seismic forces. Personally, I've always felt that a lower factor of safety against overturning should be allowed for retaining walls for seismic load cases, and an argument could be made that the codes' "intent" is to allow a general reduction in safety factors, such as from 1.50 to 1.50/1.33, although it is not explicitly stated.
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