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RE: Question regarding seismic joints

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The reality is that if adjacent buildings are not seperated enough they
will pound together.  Pounding buildings can either damage columns thus
leading to collapse or the pounding can increase the acceleration that each
structure sees.  

The formulas are compromises that are expected to control but not eliminate
damage.

Many jurisdictions (both on the East coast and the West coast)  have turned
a blind eye to these seperation provisions at property lines.  Just think
how developers would respond to reducing the floor platein a tall building
because of seismic joints.  The fact that separation joints are not
mentioned for seismic design catagories B and C might be influenced by
these same pressures.

You should keep these three points in mind whenever deciding the size of
seismic joints.

Mark Gilligan

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