Case studies

Structures under extreme loading

Client: Eurocode 8

Consultant: Professor Ahmed Elghazouli, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Expertise: Seismic assessment and design of buildings to withstand earthquakes

The consultants shared their expertise in seismic assessment and design to support the development of EN1998, also known as Eurocode 8, a European standard regulating seismic design, as well as a number of supporting guides that require expert knowledge in seismic design and other aspects of structural dynamics.


The Challenge

Whilst designing a building to withstand earthquakes may not be a common requirement in the UK, for many structural engineers in other countries it’s a vital step in the building process. From the skyscrapers in the Middle East to smaller structures near fault lines, as our buildings have become more ambitious our understanding of how an earthquake will affect them has improved too. Engineers at Imperial were involved in drafting Eurocode 8, the European standard regulating seismic design.


The Solution

We engaged Professor Ahmed Elghazouli due to his expert knowledge in seismic design and other aspects of structural dynamics including everything from how structures behave under extreme loads such as blast explosions and building fires, and the best approaches to accommodate the consequences of such events in the design philosophy, to the effects of smaller vibrations – pedestrians walking over a footbridge for example or the vibrations in the floor of a large function hall or office building.


The Impact

EN1998, also known as Eurocode 8: Design of structures for earthquake resistance is the European Standard for the design of structures in seismic zones, as approved by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN).


Professor Ahmed Elghazouli comments:

The consultancies I’m involved in are always on the border between advanced assessment and research – there’s a direct interaction between the two. It’s not the kind of knowledge usually held within a typical design firm. Advanced seismic design normally stems from research. The combination of our engineering expertise, testing facilities and computational modelling means we can offer a completely comprehensive service to clients.

Professor Ahmed Elghazouli
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London

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