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TALL BUILDINGS: FUNDAMENTALS TO KNOW

 Definition of Tall buildings

Tall building can be defined in different ways. For Architects it may be a structure which
protrudes the surrounding buildings of the area. In India, any building which has height
between 50 meters to 200 meters above ground level can be considered tall building according
to latest 16700:2017 code. For structure engineers like me, we would consider building in which
dynamic loads are prevalent as tall buildings.

 Type of structural systems in Tall buildings

1. Moment resisting Frames


2. Shear wall system
3. Outrigger and Core system
4. Braced frames
5. Tube System

Moment resisting frames

Moment frames consist of columns and beams which are connected with moment resisting
connections. The whole frame consisting of columns and beams resist the lateral loads of
wind/earthquake. Generally size of columns and beams are governed by the stiffness of bending
rather than load carrying capacity on the periphery of the building. Internal columns can be
designed for gravity. High bending resistance of periphery frame is needed to control the drift
of the building due to the lateral loads. According to IS 16700:2017 such system is used for
building up to height of 80 meters above ground for Zone III. As lateral load increases, larger
sizes are needed for columns and beams to resist the sway so this system becomes not viable
and uneconomical.
Braced Frames

This structural system is the complement to the moment frame system. This system helps in
resisting lateral loads better in moment frames and also makes building rigid reducing deflection
and drift. Generally moment frames with bracing is more economical option then only moment
frame. There are few disadvantages in this type to system pertaining to reducing the
architectural flexibility in floor plan layout and space planning for services. In moment frames,
braced frames are placed in the core of the building to resist torsion and lateral moments. These
system are used in steel building. There are two types of braced frames Concentric braced
frames and eccentric braced frames. Concentric braced frames are rigid hence less viable for
high seismic zone because of their poor inelastic flexibility. Eccentric braced frames are better
with inelastic energy dissipation which helps in lateral resistance.

Shear wall System

In this system shear wall is the main element resisting the lateral loads as they have higher
stiffness in their own plane. Shear walls resist overturning moments, shear force and more
importantly they also help in reducing torsion in the building. Majorly shear wall system in two
ways in the building. Firstly it may be connected to the moment frames via flat slab or beam,
such system can be used for height up to 160 meters above ground for Zone III. Secondly
distributing shear walls throughout the building which helps in resisting high lateral loads can be
used for height up to 200 meters above ground for Zone III. However the detailing for beams
connecting the shear walls should be taken care of while designing.
Outrigger and core system

Common way of using shear walls in the building system is use them as a core supported by
lateral resisting systems. So shear walls are casted around Lift shafts and staircases which are
generally in the center of the building .In this system periphery beams are deep beams which
help in resisting over turning moments and upliftment of core. In above 100 meters building,
outrigger and belt truss system can also be used to resist higher drifts and displacements due to
lateral loads. These outrigger system consist of stiff floors high up in the building. When
structure is subjected to lateral loads outriggers they resist axial forces and decrease moment in
the core. However they are not useful for shear or torsional resistance which has to be resisted
by the wall core. These system can be used up to 200 meters above ground for zone III.
Tube system

This system has been common for tall buildings up to 300 meters above ground. The load
bearing capacity and stiffness of this structural system has been provided through the lateral
resisting frames that form a tube around the buildings. Columns are placed together closely
around periphery of the building usually not more than 5 meter apart. Deep beams are
connected to this columns which make them useful in resisting high lateral forces. There are 4
type of tube system which are generally used. Framed tube, Braced tube, Tube in Tube and
bundled tube.

 CHALLENGES IN TALL BUILDINGS

While designing tall building, phenomena arise that could be disregarded when designing low
rise buildings. Some challenges related to tall building which should be taken care while
designing are.

1. Deformations
2. Torsion
3. Mass participation factor
4. Soft story
5. Construction sequence analysis
6. Differential shortening of columns
7. Progressive collapse
8. P- delta effect
9. Backstay effect
10. Galloping
11. Vortex shedding
12. Natural frequency of floors
13. Vertical accelarations