Where is the Base?

ASCE 7-05 defined the base for seismic design as:

“The level at which the horizontal seismic ground motions are considered to be imparted to the structure”.

Most of the times this is misinterpreted or misunderstood that where the base is considered when determining the height of building for seismic calculations specially when the site is sloped or if the basement is open from one side.

Read the following article published in December 2009 issue of Structure magazine, this article will answer lots of questions.



Modeling Piles/Piers in FEM Software

When we use finite element software for analyzing deep foundations then it becomes important to model piles with accurate axial stiffness so that the load can distribute properly based on pile stiffnesses.

Some people suggests to calculate pile stiffness by AE/L formula. By doing this method the problem is that as you increase the length of the pile, the stiffness will reduce which is not accurate.

The best thing is to ask Geotech Engineer for the allowable loads and the allowable axial displacement on working loads. Most of the times this allowable displacement is ranged from ¼” to ½” which can be confirmed from geotech report.

Take your allowable load which will vary based on the depth of pile and divide it by the axial displacement, this will be the required pile stiffness.



k = Pile axial stiffness (kips/inch )

P = Allowable load (kips)

Δ = Allowable vertical displacement (inches)