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Tilt-up buildings are a popular building construction method used across the United States. These structures offer many benefits, but can also present unique design challenges when compared to other building types. Recent tornado outbreaks have caused over $20 billion in total damages and killed hundreds of people. As with most structures, tilt-up buildings tend to be susceptible to tornado events. These events have brought building performance and safety in tornado-prone regions to the forefront of consideration by residents, building owners, code officials, and design professionals. The research for this thesis was performed to study the major components and connections used in typical tilt-up buildings using current standard wind analysis methods and to identify limiting factors in building performance in hopes of improving future building designs. Standard wind design and analysis methods were used for this research, not tornado-specific wind design criteria. The components focused on are generally regarded as current industry standards and follow local building codes and manufacturer recommendations. Existing retrofit options traditionally used in high seismic regions were also studied to see if any available methods were suitable for preventing tilt-up building failure in tornado events. The construction of internal storm shelters was also investigated as a potential additional method of reducing injuries and deaths in tornado-prone regions. While large tornado-proof buildings may be impractical or cost prohibitive, it is important for design professionals to continue to take proactive approaches to region specific hazards in future designs to reduce property damage and casualties.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Michelle Rambo-Roddenberry, Professor Directing Thesis; Sungmoon Jung, Committee Member; Primus Mtenga, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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