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GMS Attends 2016 Geotechnical & Structural Engineering Congress

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Ramon Gilsanz, Phil Murray, Jonathan Hernandez, Jessica Mandrick, Sanaz Saadat, Joshua Peng, Mark Beltramello and John Hinchcliffe attended the 2016 Geotechnical and Structural Engineering Congress in Phoenix, Arizona. This unique Congress was a joint endeavor of two sectors within the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Geotechnical Institute (G-I) and Structural Engineering Institute (SEI).The Congress facilitated coordination and understanding between academia and practicing engineers and drove the practical application of cutting edge research. It also provided crucial data for the stimulation of technological advancement and the improvement of professional practice.


Sissy Nikolaou (MRCE) and Ramon Gilsanz (GMS) presented a joint paper on Building Code Evolution Due to Extreme Events as part of the “Sustainability Rating” session.

This paper covers some benchmark, well documented extreme cases relating to earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, winds, floods, and terrorist attacks, and the impact these cases have had in modifying design standards. The authors shared their experience with responding to events including 9-11, Hurricane Sandy, and recent earthquakes that steered their focus on observing resilient structural performance, instead of failures, as is usually done. It is invaluable to identify structures which have performed well after higher than normal loading due to extreme events. The new generation of design standards will incorporate performance targets as they relate to multi-hazard exposure, associated risks, and life cycle parameters. The complexity of learning from the past, predicting and designing for the next extreme hazard in an overall resilience framework, was also discussed.

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Ramon Gilsanz and Joshua Peng presented drafts of Chapters 3 and 4 of the Alternative Load Path Analysis (ALPA) Guidelines to the SEI Disproportionate Collapse Technical Committee. Chapter 3 provides simple formulas to predict the collapse capacity of steel and concrete frame systems subjected to a column removal scenario based on the tests performed by NIST. The goal of chapter 4 is to show how commercially available structural analysis and design software can be used to determine whether a structure is likely to resist disproportionate collapse.