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Proceedings of the

4th European Workshop on the Seismic Behaviour of Irregular and Complex Structures
26-27 August, Thessaloniki, Greece
Paper No. 41

THE EXTENSION OF THE N2 METHOD TO ASYMMETRIC BUILDINGS

Peter FAJFAR
University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering
Jamova 2, SI-1000 Ljubljana, SLOVENIA

Damjan MARUI
University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering
Jamova 2, SI-1000 Ljubljana, SLOVENIA

Iztok PERU
University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering
Jamova 2, SI-1000 Ljubljana, SLOVENIA

ABSTRACT
The paper deals with the extension of the N2 method to asymmetric building structures,
represented by a 3D structural model. The results of recent parametric studies suggest that in
the majority of cases an upper limit for torsional effects can be estimated by a linear dynamic
(spectral) analysis. Based on this observation, it is proposed that the results obtained by
pushover analysis of a 3D structural model be combined with the results of a linear dynamic
(spectral) analysis. The former results control the target displacements and the distribution of
deformations along the height of the building, whereas the latter results define the torsional
amplifications. In the paper, first the theoretical background of the transformation of a 3D
MDOF model to an equivalent SDOF model is given. Then, the proposed extended N2
method is summarized and applied to a test example of an asymmetric three-storey reinforced
concrete frame (SPEAR) building. The results are compared with results of nonlinear
dynamic time-history analyses.

INTRODUCTION
Simplified methods for seismic analysis based on nonlinear static (pushover) analysis
represent a relatively simple and efficient tool for seismic assessment of structures. They have
become very popular in research and also in application. Originally, all methods were limited
to planar structural models. Recently, attempts have been made to extend the applicability of
simplified methods to asymmetric structures, which require a 3D analysis, e.g. [1], [2], [3],
[4], [5] and [6].

One of simplified nonlinear methods is the N2 method ([7], [8], [9]), which has been
implemented in Eurocode 8 (Annex B of Part 1). In the N2 method, seismic demand is
determined from inelastic spectra and depends on the period of the idealized equivalent SDOF
system. The transformation from the MDOF to an equivalent SDOF system is based on the
assumption of a time-invariant displacement shape. This assumption represents the major
limitation of the applicability of the method. It works well in the case of planar structural
models with small influence of higher modes. In the case of asymmetric building structures,
represented by a 3D structural model, several modes may substantially contribute to the
response and the torsional effects may not be properly taken into account by a straightforward
extension of the N2 method to 3D models, used in some earlier publication by the authors
([10], [11], [12], [13]). The results of recent parametric studies suggest that in the majority of
cases an upper limit for torsional effects can be estimated by a linear dynamic (spectral)
analysis ([14], [15]). Based on this observation, it has been proposed that the results obtained
by pushover analysis of a 3D structural model be combined with the results of a linear
dynamic (spectral) analysis [16]. The former results control the target displacements and the
distribution of deformations along the height of the building, whereas the latter results define
the torsional amplifications. The same or a similar approach for the estimation of torsional
effects can be applied to other pushover-based methods.
A combination of linear dynamic and pushover analyses has also been used by Tso and
Moghadam [17] and Moghadam and Tso [18]. However, in their method the target
displacements for different substructures (e.g. planar frames or walls) are determined by the
3D elastic dynamic analysis of the model representing the whole structure. 2D pushover
analyses of most critical substructures are then performed.
In the paper, the proposed extended N2 method is summarized and applied to a test example
of an asymmetric three-storey reinforced concrete frame building (SPEAR building,
pseudo-dynamically tested in full-scale in ELSA). The results are compared with results of
nonlinear dynamic time-history analyses.
DESCRIPTION OF THE N2 METHOD
In this chapter, the steps of the simple version of the N2 method, extended to asymmetric
structures, are described. A simple version of the spectrum for the reduction factor is applied.
It should be noted, however, that the suggested procedures used in particular steps of the
method can be easily replaced by other available procedures. Additional information on the
N2 method can be found in [9] (planar version) and [10] (extended version).
Step 1: Data
A 3-D model of the building structure is used. The floor diaphragms are assumed to be rigid
in the horizontal plane. The number of degrees of freedom is three times the number of
storeys N. The degrees of freedom are grouped in three sub-vectors, representing
displacements at the storey levels in the horizontal directions x and y, and torsional rotations
UT = [UxT, UyT, UzT].
In addition to the data needed for the usual elastic analysis, the non-linear force - deformation
relationships for structural elements under monotonic loading are also required. The most
common element model is the beam element with concentrated plasticity at both ends. A
bilinear or trilinear moment - rotation relationship is usually used.

Seismic demand is traditionally defined in the form of an elastic (pseudo)-acceleration


spectrum Sae (pseudo will be omitted in the following text), in which spectral accelerations
are given as a function of the natural period of the structure T. In principle, any spectrum can
be used. However, the most convenient is a spectrum of the Newmark-Hall type. The
specified damping coefficient is taken into account in the spectrum.
Step 2: Seismic Demand in AD Format
Starting from the usual acceleration spectrum (acceleration versus period), inelastic spectra in
acceleration displacement (AD) format can be determined. For an elastic SDOF system, the
following relation applies
S de =

T2
4 2

(1)

S ae

where Sae and Sde are the values in the elastic acceleration and displacement spectrum,
respectively, corresponding to the period T and a fixed viscous damping ratio.
For an inelastic SDOF system with a bilinear force - deformation relationship, the
acceleration spectrum (Sa) and the displacement spectrum (Sd) can be determined as

S ae
R

(2)

T2
T2
S
=

Sa
S de =
ae
R
R 4 2
4 2

(3)

Sa =

Sd =

where is the ductility factor defined as the ratio between the maximum displacement and the
yield displacement, and R is the reduction factor due to ductility, i.e., due to the hysteretic
energy dissipation of ductile structures. Note that R is not equivalent to the reduction factor R
used in seismic codes. The code reduction factor R, which is in Eurocode 8 called behaviour
factor q, takes into account both energy dissipation and the so-called overstrength Rs. It can be
defined as R = R Rs.
Several proposals have been made for the reduction factor R. In the simple version of the N2
method, we will make use of a bilinear spectrum for the reduction factor R

R = ( 1)

T
+1
TC

R =

T < TC

T TC

(4)
(5)

where TC is the characteristic period of the ground motion. It is typically (e.g. in Eurocode 8)
defined as the transition period where the constant acceleration segment of the response
spectrum (the short-period range) passes to the constant velocity segment of the spectrum (the
medium-period range). Eqs 3 and 5 suggest that, in the medium- and long-period ranges, the

equal displacement rule applies, i.e., the displacement of the inelastic system is equal to the
displacement of the corresponding elastic system with the same period.
Starting from the elastic design spectrum, and using Eqs 3 to 5, the demand spectra for the
constant ductility factors in AD format can be obtained. They represent inelastic demand
spectra. It should be noted that the construction of these spectra is in fact not needed in the
computational procedure. They just help for the visualisation of the procedure.
Step 3: Pushover Analysis
Using a pushover analysis, a characteristic non-linear force - displacement relationship of the
MDOF system can be determined. In principle, any force and displacement can be chosen.
Usually, base shear and roof (top) displacement are used as representative of force and
displacement, respectively. The selection of an appropriate lateral load distribution is an
important step within the pushover analysis. A unique solution does not exist. Fortunately, the
range of reasonable assumptions is usually relatively narrow and, within this range, different
assumptions produce similar results. One practical possibility is to use two different
displacement shapes (load patterns) and to envelope the results.
Lateral loads are applied in mass centres of different storeys. The vector of the lateral loads P,
which generally consists of components in three directions (forces in the x and y direction and
torsional moments) is determined as
P=p=pM

(6)

where M is the mass matrix. The magnitude of the lateral loads is controlled by p. The
distribution of lateral loads is related to the assumed displacement shape . (Note that the
displacement shape is needed only for the transformation from the MDOF to the equivalent
SDOF system in Step 4). Consequently, the assumed load and displacement shapes are not
mutually independent as in the majority of other pushover analysis approaches. The procedure
can start either by assuming displacement shape and determining lateral load distribution
according to Eq 6, or by assuming lateral load distribution and determining displacement
shape from Eq 6. Note that Eq 6 does not present any restriction regarding the distribution
of lateral loads.
Generally, can consist of non-zero components in three directions (two horizontal
directions and of torsional rotation). In such a case (coupled displacement shape) lateral loads
also consist of components in three directions. The procedure can be substantially simplified
if lateral loads are applied in one direction only. This is a special case that requires that also
the assumed displacement shape has non-zero components in one direction only, e.g.

T = [xT, 0T, 0T]

(7)

This special case is used in the proposed extended version of the N2 method. It should be
noted, however, that even in this special case of uncoupled assumed displacement shape, the
resulting displacements, determined by a pushover analysis of an asymmetric structure, will
be coupled, i.e. they will have components in three directions.

From Eqs 6 and 7 it follows that the lateral force in the x-direction at the i-th level is
proportional to the component x,i of the assumed displacement shape x, weighted by the
storey mass mi

Px,i = p mi x,i

(8)

Such a relation has a physical background: if the assumed displacement shape was equal to
the mode shape and constant during ground shaking, i.e. if the structural behaviour was
elastic, then the distribution of lateral forces would be equal to the distribution of effective
earthquake forces and Eq 6 was exact. In inelastic range, the displacement shape changes
with time and Eq 6 represents an approximation. Nevertheless, by assuming related lateral
forces and displacements according to Eq 6, the transformation from the MDOF to the
equivalent SDOF system and vice-versa (Steps 4 and 6) follows from simple mathematics not
only in elastic but also in inelastic range. No additional approximations are required, as in the
case of some other simplified procedures.
In the proposed method, lateral loading, determined according to Eqs 6 and 7, is applied
independently in two horizontal directions, in each direction with + and - sign.
Step 4: Equivalent SDOF Model and Capacity Curve
In the N2 method, seismic demand is determined by using response spectra. Inelastic
behaviour is taken into account explicitly. Consequently, the structure should, in principle, be
modelled as a SDOF system. Different procedures have been used to determine the
characteristics of an equivalent SDOF system. One of them, used in the current version of the
N2 method, is summarized below.
The starting point is the equation of motion of a 3D structural model (with 3N degrees of
freedom) representing a multi-storey building (damping is not taken into account because it
will be included in the spectrum)
 + R = M s a
MU

(9)

R is a vector representing internal forces, a is the ground acceleration as a function of time,


and s is a vector defining the direction of ground motion. In the case of uni-directional ground
motion, e.g. in the direction x, the vector s consists of one unit sub-vector and of two subvectors equal to 0.
sT = [1T, 0T, 0T ]

(10)

In the N2 method, ground motion is applied independently in two horizontal directions.


Consequently, two separate analyses have to be performed with two different s vectors
(vector (10) and a similar vector that corresponds to the ground excitation in the y-direction).
A derivation, presented in [10] yields the following formulas.
The displacement and force of the equivalent SDOF system D* and F* are defined as

D* =

Dt

F* =

(11), (12)

where Dt is the top displacement of the MDOF system and

V = p T M s = pm *

(13)

is the base shear of the MDOF model in the direction of ground motion. m* is the equivalent
mass of the SDOF system

m* = T M s

(14)

The constant controls the transformation from the MDOF to the SDOF model and viceversa. It is defined as

T M s m*
= T
=
M L*

(15)

Note that m* depends on the direction of ground motion. Consequently, , D*, and F* also
depend on the direction of ground motion. In the case of ground motion in one (x) direction
(Eq 10) and assuming a simple uncoupled displacement shape (Eq 7), the following equations
apply

m*x =

m
i

x ,i

Vx = pmi x ,i = Px ,i
=

m
m
i
i

x ,i
2
x ,i

(16)
(17)
(18)

Eq 18 is the same equation as in the case of planar structures. Consequently, the


transformation from the MDOF to the SDOF system and vice versa is exactly the same as in
the case of a planar structure.
is usually called the modal participation factor. Note that the assumed displacement shape
is normalized the value at the top is equal to 1. Note also that any reasonable shape can be
used for . As a special case, the elastic first mode shape can be assumed.
The same constant applies for the transformation of both displacements and forces (Eqs 11
and 12). As a consequence, the force - displacement relationship determined for the MDOF
system (the V - Dt diagram) applies also to the equivalent SDOF system (the F* - D* diagram),
provided that both force and displacement are divided by .
In order to determine a simplified (elastic - perfectly plastic) force displacement relationship
for the equivalent SDOF system, engineering judgement has to be used. In regulatory
documents some guidelines may be given. In Annex B of Eurocode 8 [19] the bilinear
idealization is based on the equal energy principle. Note that the displacement demand
depends on the equivalent stiffness which, in the case of the equal energy approach, depends
on the target displacement. In principle, an iterative approach is needed, in which a target

displacement is assumed, the bilinear idealization is made and the target displacement is
determined. This value is then used then as the new approximation for target displacement.
According to Eurocode 8, the displacement at the formation of plastic mechanism can be used
as the initial approximation for target displacement. Iteration is allowed but not required.
The graphical procedure (visualization), used in the simple N2 method, requires that the postyield stiffness is equal to zero. This is because the reduction factor R is defined as the ratio of
the required elastic strength to the yield strength. The influence of a moderate strain hardening
is incorporated in the demand spectra. It should be emphasized that moderate strain hardening
does not have a significant influence on displacement demand, and that the proposed spectra
approximately apply for systems with zero or small strain-hardening.
The elastic period of the idealized bilinear system T* can be determined as
m* D *y

T = 2
*

Fy*

(19)

where Fy* and D*y are the yield strength and displacement, respectively.
Note that, alternatively, first the bilinear idealization of the pushover curve can be made and
then the transformation to the equivalent SDOF system can be made. The same equations
apply.
Finally, the capacity diagram in AD format is obtained by dividing the forces in the force deformation (F* - D*) diagram by the equivalent mass m*
Sa =

F
m*

(20)

The procedure is applied for both horizontal directions, in each direction with + and - sign.
Step 5: Seismic Demand for the Equivalent SDOF System
The determination of the seismic demand for the equivalent SDOF system is illustrated in
Fig. 1 (for medium- and long-period structures, for which the equal displacement rule
applies; for short-period structures see e.g. [9]). Both the demand spectra and the capacity
diagram have been plotted in the same graph. The intersection of the radial line corresponding
to the elastic period T* of the idealized bilinear system with the elastic demand spectrum
defines the acceleration demand (strength), required for elastic behaviour Sae, and the
corresponding elastic displacement demand Sde. The yield acceleration Say represents both the
acceleration demand and the capacity of the inelastic system. The reduction factor R can be
determined as the ratio between the accelerations corresponding to the elastic and inelastic
systems
R =

( )

S ae T
S ay

(21)

Note that R is not the same as the reduction (behaviour, response modification) factor R used
in seismic codes. The code reduction factor R takes into account both energy dissipation and
the so-called overstrength. The design acceleration Sad is typically smaller than the yield
acceleration Say.
If the elastic period T* is larger than or equal to TC, the inelastic displacement demand Sd is
equal to the elastic displacement demand Sde (see Eqs 3 and 5, and Fig. 1). From triangles in
Fig. 1 it follows that the ductility demand, defined as = Sd / D y , is equal to R
Sd = Sde (T*)

T* TC

(22)

= R

(23)

Sa
T*
Sae
= 1 (elastic)

Say
Sad
Dd* Dy*

Sd = Sde

Sd

Figure 1: Elastic and inelastic demand spectra versus capacity curve.

If the elastic period of the system is smaller than TC, the ductility demand can be calculated
from the rearranged Eq 4

= (R 1)

TC
+1
T

T* < TC

(24)

The displacement demand can be determined either from the definition of ductility or from
Eqs 3 and 24 as

S d = D y =

S de
T
1 + (R 1) C
R
T

(25)

In both cases ( T < TC and T TC ) the inelastic demand in terms of accelerations and
displacements corresponds to the intersection point of the capacity diagram with the demand
spectrum corresponding to the ductility demand . At this point, the ductility factor
determined from the capacity diagram and the ductility factor associated with the intersecting
demand spectrum are equal.

All steps in the procedure can be performed numerically without using the graph. However,
visualization of the procedure may help in better understanding the relations between the
basic quantities. Two additional quantities are shown in Fig. 1. Sad represents a typical design
strength, i.e. strength required by codes for ductile structures, and Dd* is the corresponding
displacement obtained by linear analysis.
The procedure is applied in two horizontal directions, in each direction with + and - sign.
Usually, the results obtained for both signs are similar. In such a case, the larger value of two
values, obtained for + and sign, can used as the target displacement (displacement demand
at CM) in each horizontal direction. Alternatively, the complete analysis can be performed for
both signs and the envelopes of all relevant quantities can be taken as the end result.
Step 6: Global Seismic Demand for the MDOF Model
The displacement demand for the SDOF model Sd is transformed into the maximum top
displacement Dt of the MDOF system (target displacement) by using Eq 11.
Step 7: Determination of Torsional Effects
Torsional effects are determined by a linear modal analysis of the 3D mathematical model,
independently for excitation in two horizontal directions and combining the results according
to the SRSS rule.
Step 8: Local Seismic Demand for the MDOF Model
Under monotonically increasing lateral loads with a fixed pattern (as in Step 3), the structure
is pushed to Dt. It is assumed that the distribution of deformations throughout the height of
the structure in the static (pushover) analysis approximately corresponds to that which would
be obtained in the dynamic analyses. Separate 3D pushover analyses are performed in two
horizontal directions.
The correction factors to be applied to the relevant results of pushover analyses are
determined. The correction factor is defined as the ratio between the normalized roof
displacements obtained by elastic modal analysis and by pushover analysis. The normalized
roof displacement is the roof displacement at an arbitrary location divided by the roof
displacement at the CM. If the normalized roof displacement obtained by elastic modal
analysis is smaller than 1.0, the value 1.0 is used, i.e. no de-amplification due to torsion is
taken into account. Correction factors are defined for each horizontal direction separately.
Note that the correction factor depends on the location in the plan. All relevant quantities
obtained by pushover analyses are multiplied with appropriate correction factors. For
example, in a perimeter frame parallel to the X-axis, all quantities are multiplied with the
correction factor determined with pushover results obtained for loading in the X-direction
and for the location of this frame. The relevant quantities are, for example, deformations for
the ductile elements, which are expected to yield, and the stresses for brittle elements, which
are expected to remain in the elastic range.
Step 9: Performance Evaluation (Damage Analysis)
Expected performance can be assessed by comparing the seismic demands, determined in
Step 8, with the capacities for the relevant performance level. The determination of seismic
capacity is not discussed in this paper. Global performance can be visualized by comparing
displacement capacity and demand.

TEST EXAMPLE - SPEAR BUILDING

The test structure represents a typical older three-storey reinforced concrete frame building
(Fig. 2a). The storey heights amount to 3.0 meters. The structure was experimentally and
numerically investigated in the SPEAR project (www.strulab.civil.upatras.gr/spear/). In the
analyses, presented in this paper, a model developed before the tests (the final pre-test
model, the details of the model will be presented elsewhere) was used. The CANNY
program [20] was employed. The mathematical model consists of beam elements. Flexural
behaviour of beams was modelled by one-component lumped plasticity elements, composed
of elastic beam and two inelastic rotational hinges. Rotational hinges were defined with the
tri-linear moment-rotation envelope, which includes pre-crack, post-crack and post-yield
parts, and Takedas hysteretic rules (Cross-peak trilinear model CP3) in time-history analysis.
The plastic hinge was used for the major-axis bending only. For flexural behaviour of
columns also a one-component lumped plasticity model was used, with two independent
plastic hinges for bending about the two principal axes. The eccentricities between the mass
centres and approximate stiffness centres amount to about 10 % and 14 % in the X- and Ydirections, respectively. The total mass of the structure amounts to 195 tons. The three
fundamental periods of vibration of the building (considering some inelastic deformations cracks due to gravity load), amount to 0.63 s, 0.58 s, and 0.45 s. The first mode is
predominantly in the X-direction, the second predominantly in the Y-direction, whereas the
third mode is predominantly torsional.

1.0

CM
X2,1

X2,2

Acceleration [g]

X3

Spectrum
EC8
Mean XY
0.5

X1,2

X1,1

0.0
9.7

Figure 2a: Schematic plan of the


SPEAR building.

T [s]

Figure 2b: Mean of the elastic spectra for


5% damping and the elastic spectrum
according to EC8 Type 1 Soil C; ag = 0.3 g.

In dynamic analyses, bi-directional semi-artificial ground motion records were used. The
horizontal components of seven recorded ground motions were fitted to the EC8 elastic design
spectrum (Type 1, soil C, Fig. 2b). The ground motions were scaled to peak ground
acceleration ag = 0.3. For each record 8 different combinations of directions and signs of
components were applied. In modal analysis, which provides results needed for the
determination of the torsional influences in the N2 method, the same EC8 spectra were
applied in both horizontal directions. Five percent damping was used in all analyses. In time-

history analysis Reyleigh damping (with instantaneous stiffness matrix) was applied. The P-
effect was not taken into account.
Analysis by the extended N2 Method
Pushover analyses were performed in two horizontal directions with lateral loads based on the
fundamental mode shapes in the relevant direction, i.e. x-components of the first mode shape
were used in X-direction, and y-components of the second mode shape were used in Ydirection. Loading was applied with + and sign. The results of pushover analyses are shown
in Fig.3. Iteration was used for determination of the bilinear idealization of pushover curves,
as described in Step 4 of the procedure. (Note that in the test example the alternative with the
idealization of the pushover curve for the MDOF system was used.) The idealized force
displacement relationships are plotted in Fig.3.

Base shear [kN]

X-direction
350
300
250
200
150
100
50
0

Y-direction

10 12 14 16

10 12 14 16

Top displacement [cm]

Top displacement [cm]

Figure 3: Pushover curves and bilinear idealizations for loading with + and - sign.

Sa [g]

X-direction

Y-direction

0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0

6 8
Sd [cm]

10 12 14 16 18 0

6 8
Sd [cm]

10 12 14 16 18

Figure 4: Elastic and inelastic demand spectra and capacity curves (for loading with +
and sign).

The capacity curves and the elastic and inelastic demand spectra are shown in Fig.4. In both
horizontal directions, larger displacement demands apply to the loading with the + sign. For
the equivalent SDOF system they amount to 12.8 and 11.1 cm in X- and Y- direction,
respectively, whereas the corresponding top displacements of the MDOF system in CM
amount to 15.8 and 14.2 cm. The displacement ductility demands (regarding the yield point of
the idealized bilinear systems) amount to about 2.5 in both directions.
Torsional effects in terms of normalized roof displacements determined by the proposed
extension of the N2 method are presented in Fig. 5. The N2 results are compared with the
results of elastic modal (spectral) analysis, non-linear time-history analysis for ag = 0.30 g,
and pushover analysis.
X-direction

Y-direction

1.5

Time-history

u/uCM

1.4
1.3
1.2
1.1
1.0
0.9
0.8
0.7

Mean
Mean +
Envelope
N2
Modal
Pushover
Stiff

CM

Flex.

Stiff

CM

Flex.

Figure 5: Torsional effects in terms of normalized top displacements obtained by the N2


method, by modal analysis, by time-history analysis (mean, mean + sigma values and
envelope) and by pushover analysis.

u [cm]

X-direction
20
18
16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0

Y-direction

Time-history
Mean
Mean +
Envelope
N2
Stiff

CM

Flex.

Stiff

CM

Flex.

Figure 6: Displacement (in plane) at the top of the building obtained by N2 and
time-history analyses.

The static analysis suggested that some cracks (non-linear deformations) occurred already due
to gravity loads. This state was assumed as the initial (elastic) state of the building, and the
modes of vibration of the building in such a condition were taken into account for the modal
analysis. Modal analysis was performed independently for the loading in both horizontal
directions, using the CQC rule for the combination of different modes, which is considered
appropriate for structures with closely spaced modes. The results of analyses for both
directions were combined by the SRSS rule.
According to the proposed extension of the N2 method, the results of elastic modal analysis
are used to determine the torsional effect, provided that amplification due to torsion occurs.
Consequently, the N2 results coincide with the line obtained by elastic modal analysis on the
stiff side. No de-amplification due to torsion is allowed in the N2 method. So a constant value
of 1.0 applies on the stiff side of the building. If compared with the mean results of nonlinear
time-history analyses, the proposed N2 approach is conservative. The N2 results are close to
mean+ values. However, it should be noted that the torsional effects are in general higher if
the ground motion intensity is lower (see [16]). Moreover, some particular ground motions
can produce very high torsional influences, as demonstrated by the envelope of results.
A pushover analysis with forces applied in the centre of masses at each floor at the same
target displacement yields very small torsional rotations. According to the proposed extension
of the N2 method, the results of pushover analysis are corrected by multiplying them by the
ratio between the N2 normalized displacements and normalized displacements obtained by
pushover analyses. The correction factors amount to 1.29, 1.22, 1.21 for columns and beams
in the frames Y3,1, Y3,2, and X3, respectively. For other frames the factors are small (from
1.00 to 1.05).

X-direction
Storey

Stiff edge(X1)

Centre (X2,2)

Flex. edge (X3)


Time-history

Mean
Mean +
Envelope

2
1

Y-direction
Stiff edge(Y1)

N2
Centre (Y2)

Flex. edge(Y3,1)

3
2
1
0 2 4 6 8 10 0 2 4 6 8 10 0 2 4

6 8 10

Storey drift [cm]


Figure 7: Storey drifts obtained by the N2 method and time-history analysis.

Absolute values of roof displacements are plotted in Fig.6. The N2 displacements in CM are
34 % and 23 % larger than the mean values obtained by time-history analysis and are larger
than the mean +. Note, however, that the standard deviation of the sample of accelerograms
is very small because all accelerograms are fitted to the same spectrum. In the case of
recorded accelerograms, the coefficient of variation for displacements usually amounts to
about 0.3. On the other hand, the idealization of the pushover curve according to EC8 is
conservative, i.e. leading to a low effective stiffness and high effective period.
Storey drifts in different frames are shown in Fig.7. The distribution of drifts along the height
of the building obtained by the N2 method is comparable with the distribution obtained by
nonlinear dynamic analysis. The N2 drift estimates are conservative with the exception of the
top storey in X-direction.
The seismic assessment of the structure, which is made by comparing demand with capacity,
is not discussed in this paper.
CONCLUSIONS

Structural response to strong earthquake ground motion cannot be accurately predicted due to
large uncertainties and the randomness of structural properties and ground motion parameters.
Consequently, excessive sophistication in structural analysis is not warranted. The N2
method, like some other simplified non-linear methods, provides a tool for a rational yet
practical evaluation procedure for building structures for multiple performance objectives.
The formulation of the method in the acceleration displacement format enables the visual
interpretation of the procedure and of the relations between the basic quantities controlling the
seismic response. This feature is attractive to designers. Of course, the N2 method is, like any
approximate method, subject to several limitations (see, e.g. [9]).
In this paper, the extended N2 method, which can be used for analysis of plan-asymmetric
building structures, has been summarized and applied to a test example. The transformation of
the MDOF to the equivalent SDOF system can be performed by the same equation as in the
case of planar systems. The consideration of the torsional effects is based on two
observations:
The torsional amplification of displacements determined by elastic dynamic analysis can
be used as a rough, mostly conservative estimate also in the inelastic range.
Any favourable torsional effect on the stiff side, i.e. any reduction of displacements
compared to the counterpart symmetric building, which may arise from elastic analysis,
will probably decrease or may even disappear in the inelastic range.
The results obtained by the proposed procedure are influenced both by nonlinear static
(pushover) and elastic dynamic analysis. Displacement demand (amplitude and the
distribution along the height) at the mass centres is determined by the usual N2 method,
which is based on pushover analysis. The amplification of demand due to torsion is
determined by elastic dynamic analysis, while reduction of demand due to torsion is not taken
into account. Such an approach yields in most cases a conservative estimate of torsional
influences. Note, however, that inelastic torsion is characterized by large inherent randomness
and uncertainty.

In the case of the test structure analyzed in this paper, a comparison with results of dynamic
analyses suggests that the N2 results are conservative. The conservatism originates both from
the determination of the target displacement at the mass centre and from the determination of
torsional effects. Note that the accuracy of the estimated target displacement depends
considerably on the bilinear idealization of the pushover curve, which controls the initial
period of the idealized equivalent SDOF system.
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