Would a European Façade Resist an Earthquake in Dubai?

Matthias Roik
Research & Development
HALFEN, Langenfeld

Wherever cladding panels are fastened to a building, they are part of the whole structural system; this provokes a seismic response from the main sub-structure. The higher stiffness of this “resistance system” results in forces that are greater than those calculated based on frame models. Therefore, the panels themselves have to be dimensioned according to these resulting stresses, and the anchors have to be designed accordingly. Connections have to be differentiated between fixings and fixtures. The “fixing” parts such, as dowels or anchor channels, become part of the load-bearing structure and introduce the fixing loads into the structure. The “fixture”’s task is to transfer the loads from the façade plane to the fixings, which usually means – depending on the insulation thickness – that they are large cantilevers. They form the link between the façade and the load-bearing structure, and have to be adequately dimensioned. It also has to be examined whether the fixings should be designed as ductile or rigid; this influences the interaction significantly.

In all parts of the world, seismic design methodologies for primary structures, as well as non-structural elements, has gained importance in recent years. This does not apply solely to “classical” earthquake regions but also to Central Europe, where today a consistent system of design provisions for fixings is published. This presentation provides an overview of the calculation and test methods. Special attention will be paid to the technical rules and standards applicable in each respective country. Shake table tests are used to show the load-bearing behavior of the system structure/façade. The technical background is explained and the experiment results are illustrated.