Development of Canadian Seismic Design Procedures for Precast Concrete Shear Wall Buildings

Precast concrete shear walls show potential for addressing some of Canada’s urgent housing and commercial building demands with high quality and highly durable construction methods that are quick to assemble on site. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the seismic design of these systems in Canada, and there are no explicit seismic design provisions for precast concrete buildings in Canadian building codes. In this Alliance-Accelerant project, UBC researchers partner with the Canadian Precast/Pre-stressed Concrete Institute (CPCI) to address this urgent need. CPCI is a not-for-profit that is widely considered the leading authority in Canada for precast concrete design. Over the next four years, four graduate students are being trained in the seismic design, assessment, and the development of precast concrete shear wall buildings.

The overarching goal of this Alliance-Accelerate project is to develop scientifically-backed seismic design guidelines for Canadian precast concrete shear wall buildings. To achieve this goal, comprehensive numerical models will be developed to study the dynamic response of a range of precast concrete shear wall buildings. Using this comprehensive numerical study, the following objectives will be accomplished: 1) assess the current state of practice and recommend restrictions in design, 2) improve the current state of practice with new recommended design provisions, and 3) propose (i.e., develop the design requirements) a new precast concrete shear wall system for high-seismic regions.

The research outcomes will be detailed design guidelines that can be used to propose changes to the building code, including precast-specific design guidelines, resulting in immediate, significant, and widespread impact. CPCI will be instrumental in ensuring the research outcomes of this project are sufficiently practical to meet the needs of the Canadian industry.

With the need for high-performance systems with affordable construction costs, this research also provides an opportunity for precast concrete shear walls being a seismic force-resisting system of choice and result in higher performance buildings constructed in Canada.

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