Nonlinear Soil-Structure Interaction Effects on Building Frames: A Discussion on the Seismic Codes

Document Type : Technical Note


University of Kashan


Recent seismic codes include design requirements in order to take soil-structure interaction (SSI) into account for realistic modelling of structures. The paper investigates the performance of multi-story building-foundation systems through a Winkler-based approach. A set of 4-, 8-, 12- and 16-story steel moment resisting frame buildings on three soil types with shear wave velocities less than 600m/s subjected to actual earthquake records with a probability of exceedance of 10% in 50 years are modeled with and without SSI. It is observed that the performance level of frames supported by flexible foundation, particularly at soft soil sites, may alter significantly in comparison to fixed-base structures. Moreover, the nonlinear foundation is found to have a significant effect on the force and displacement demands. A comparison and brief discussion on the design guidelines for consideration of flexible foundation behavior is also included.


  1. Wolf, J.P. (1985) Dynamic Soil-Structure Interaction. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
  2. Kramer, S.L. (1996) Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
  3. Khalil, L., Sadek, M., and Shahrour, I. (2007) Influence of the soil-structure interaction on the fundamental period of buildings. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 36, 2445-2453.
  4. Raychowdhury, P. and Hutchinson, T.C. (2011) Performance of seismically loaded shear walls on nonlinear shallow foundations. Int. J. Numer. Anal. Meth. Geomech., 35, 846-858.
  5. Marzban, S., Banazadeh, M., and Azarbakht, A. (2014) Seismic performance of reinforced concrete shear wall frames considering soilfoundation-structure interaction. The Structural Design of Tall and Special Buildings, 23, 302-318.
  6. Arbabi, M. and Tahghighi, H. (2015) Evaluation of soil-structure interaction effects using seismic codes. Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Seismology and Earthquake Engineering (SEE7), Tehran, Iran.
  7. Mylonakis, G. and Gazetas, G. (2000) Seismic soilstructure interaction: beneficial or detrimental. Journal of Earthquake Engineering, 4(3), 277-301.
  8. Jeremic, B., Kunnath, S., and Xiong, F. (2004) Influence of soil-foundation-structure interaction on seismic response of the I-880 viaduct. Eng. Structures, 26, 391-402.
  9. NEHRP (2009) Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures (FEMA P-750) . Prepared by the Building
  10. Seismic Safety Council for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, DC.
  11. ASCE 7 (2010) Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, ASCE/SEI 7-10. American Society of Civil Engineers/Structural Engineering Institute, Reston, VA.
  12. ATC 40 (1996) Seismic Evaluation and Retrofit of Concrete Buildings. Applied Technology Council (ATC), Redwood City, CA.
  13. FEMA 356 (2000) Prestandard and Commentary for the Seismic Rehabilitation of Buildings. Prepared by the American Society of Civil Engineers for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Washington, DC.
  14. FEMA 440 (2005) Improvement of Nonlinear Static Seismic Analysis Procedures. Prepared by the Applied Technology Council for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Washington, DC.
  15. ASCE 41 (2006) Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings, ASCE/SEI 41. American Society of Civil Engineers/Structural Engineering Institute, Reston, VA.
  16. Lou, M., Wang, H., Chen, X., and Zhai, Y. (2011) Structure-soil-structure interaction: Literature review. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 31, 1724-1731.
  17. Tabatabaiefar, S.H.R. and Massumi, A. (2010) A simplified method to determine seismic responses of reinforced concrete moment resisting building frames under influence of soil-structure interaction. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 30, 1259-1267.
  18. Tabatabaiefar, S.H.R., Fatahi, B., and Samali, B. (2013) Seismic behavior of building frames considering dynamic soil-structure interaction. International Journal of Geomechanics, 13(4), 409-420.
  19. Harden, C.W., Hutchinson, T., Martin, G.R., and Kutter, B.L. (2005) Numerical Modeling of the Nonlinear Cyclic Response of Shallow Foundations . Report No. PEER-2005/04, Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research center, University of California, Berkeley.
  20. Harden, C.W. and Hutchinson, T.C. (2009) Beam-on-nonlinear-Winkler-foundation modeling of shallow rocking-dominated footings. Earthquake Spectra , 25(2), 277-300.
  21. Gajan, S., Raychowdhury, P., Hutchinson, T.C., Kutter, B.L., and Stewart, J.P. (2010) Application and validation of practical tools for nonlinear soil-foundation interaction analysis. Earthquake Spectra, 26(1), 111-129.
  22. Raychowdhury, P. (2011) Seismic response of low-rise steel moment-resisting frame (SMRF) buildings incorporating nonlinear soil-structure interaction (SSI). Engineering Structures, 33, 958-967.
  23. Masaeli, H., Khoshnoudian, F., and Ziaei, R. (2015) Rocking soil-structure systems subjected to near-fault pulses. Journal of Earthquake Engineering, 19(3), 461-479.
  24. Rabiee, M. and Tahghighi, H. (2015) Assessment of the soil-structure interaction effects on the seismic demands of low-rise moment-resisting frame buildings. Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Seismology and Earthquake Engineering (SEE7), Tehran, Iran (in Persian).
  25. Iranian National Building Code (Part 6) (2013) Design Load for Buildings. Ministry of Road, Housing and Urban Development, Tehran.
  26. Iranian National Building Code (Part 10) (2013) Steel Structure Design. Ministry of Road, Housing and Urban Development, Tehran.
  27. Standard No. 2800 (2014) Iranian Code of Practice for Seismic Resistance Design of Buildings. Ministry of Road, Housing and Urban Development, Tehran.
  28. Veletsos, A.S. and Meek, J.W. (1974) Dynamic behavior of building-foundation system. Journal of Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 3(2), 121-138.
  29. PEER. Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research center strong motion database, http://peer., 2015.
  30. Tahghighi, H. (2015) Seismic Performance Assessment of Multi-Story Structures Considering Nonlinear Winkler-Based Soil-Structure Interaction Model. Report on research project, Grant-in-aid for scientific research, University of Kashan.
  31. OpenSees (2013) Open system for earthquake engineering simulation. PEER, http://opensees., Richmond, CA, USA.
  32. Allotey, N. and Naggar, M.H.E. (2007) An investigation into the Winkler modeling of the cyclic response of rigid footings. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 28, 44-57.
  33. Boulanger, R.W., Curras, C.J., Kutter, B.L., Wilson, D.W., and Abghari, A. (1999) Seismic soil-pile-structure interaction experiments and analyses. ASCE J. Geotech. Geoenviron Eng., 125, 750-759.
  34. Raychowdhury, P. and Hutchinson, T.C. (2009) Performance evaluation of a nonlinear Winklerbased shallow foundation model using centrifuge test results. Ear thquake Engineer ing and Structural Dynamics, 38, 679-698.
  35. Gazetas, G. (1991) Formulas and charts for impedances of surface and embedded foundations. Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, 117(9), 1363-1381.
  36. Terzaghi, K. (1943) Theoretical Soil Mechanics. Wiley, New York.
  37. Meyerhof, G.G. (1963) Some recent research on the bearing capacity of foundations. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 1(1), 16-26.