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Progressive Collapse

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Dear Marc:

Last year, I designed a 8-story Special Moment Steel Frame - Federal 
Courthouse which required to be designed for blast. One of the tasks among 
others is to do what is called a Progressive collapse Analysis ( This is an 
independent analysis to determine a system's ability to resist structural 
collapse upon the loss of a major structural element which can be caused by a 
blast explosion or other).

The Progressive Collapse Analysis requires a lot of Engineering Judgement. 
But if it is for Federal Courthouses, you can follow some guidelines by GSA. 
I will extract some of the general guidelines to consider when you do a 
Progressive Collapse analysis for GSA.

-  At a minimun, all new GSA facilities shall be designed for the loss of one
   primary vertical load bearing member at the building perimeter for the 
first 2
   floors above grade without progressive collapse.

-  In addition, new facilities with a defined threat shall be designed with a 
    reasonable probability that, if local damage occurs, the structure will 
    collapse or be damaged to an extent disproportionate to the original 
cause of 
    the damage.

I have a lot of fun designing a building capable to do this and I am pretty 
sure you will enjoy too. Good luck!

Juan Carlos Esquivel, SE