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TechBrief Guidance for Evaluated Technologies Project


To develop a TechBrief (a topical, tightly written, and well-illustrated discussion of a practical problem faced by engineering design and construction practitioners) on each of two topics:

  1. Design and analysis of Steel Special Eccentric Braced Frame Systems; and
  2. Design and analysis of Special Reinforced Masonry Shear Walls as earthquake lateral-load resisting systems.


Objective: To develop by late-FY 2014 practitioner-oriented guidance in the form of Techbriefs for

  1. The seismic analysis, design, and detailing of steel eccentric braced frames; and
  2. Special reinforced masonry shear walls. Both publications will combine containing current design approaches employed by leading practitioners with recent research findings.

What is the new technical idea? This project will synthesize available practitioner and research information on the key areas associated with:

  1. Steel Special Eccentric Braced Frame Systems: Areas to be addressed include stiffness and strength characteristics and their impacts on analytical modeling, capacity design provisions, design and detailing of braces, adjacent members (including shear links) and connections, anchorage requirements (per AISC 341[1] and ACI 318-11[2] Appendix D), innovative configurations (e.g., two-story eccentric braced frames, combined flexural and axial load interaction, and implications for Performance-Based Seismic Engineering (PBSE), including nonlinear modeling recommendations.
  2. Special Reinforced Masonry Shear Walls: Areas to be addressed include analysis, design, detailing and constructability (per MSJC[3] as modified by ASCE/SEI 7-10[4]), including both allowable stress and strength design techniques, reinforcement design and anchorage, treatment of wall openings, diaphragm and foundation connections, bond beam and boundary element design, and analytical modeling characteristics that support PBSE. In addition to applying practitioner knowledge of the established standards, the project will apply knowledge gained by researchers who are performing research in NIST ARRA Measurement Science and Engineering Grant 60NANB10D013, Performance-Based Seismic Design Methods and Tools for Reinforced Masonry Shear Wall Structures.

What is the research plan? It is anticipated that NIST will award a task order to a new extramural contractor in FY 2013. The task order will be structured so that each TechBrief will be developed by a small project team of highly qualified practitioners and researchers, typically three to four people. At least one leading practitioner and one leading researcher in the structural steel field will lead the effort for the braced frame TechBrief, while at least one leading practitioner and one leading researcher in the reinforced masonry field will lead the effort for the reinforced masonry TechBrief, thus ensuring that both best practices and cutting edge research will be included in both reports.

A detailed research plan, including the names of all project participants, will be developed by the contractor for each TechBrief during the task order proposal development process.  This project description will be revised immediately following task order award to reflect the additional detail that will be provided.


[1] Seismic Provisions for Structural Steel Buildings, ANSI/AISC 341, American Institute of Steel Construction, Chicago, IL, 2010.

[2] Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete, ACI 318-11, American Concrete Institute, Framingham, MI, 2011.

[3] Building Code Requirements and Specification for Masonry Structures, TMS 402-11/ACI 530-11/ASCE 5-11, Masonry Standards Joint Committee of The Masonry Society, American Concrete Institute, and the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers 2011.

[4] Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, ASCE/SEI 7-10, Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 2010.


Major Accomplishments:

Recent Results:

These new TechBriefs will be the tenth and eleventh in a series of documents that have addressed the following seismic analysis and design issues:

The TechBrief series has had significant impact on the structural engineering community. The National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA) provided webinars on TechBriefs 1 through 4 in 2011.  In addition, TechBrief No. 2 was the subject of a presentation at the 2009 SEAOC Annual Conference, the subject of an article in Structure Magazine[5] and won the SEAONC Award of Merit in 2010 for Excellence in Structural Engineering. TechBrief 4 was also cited in FEMA P-58[6]. The TechBrief series has received high praise from practicing engineers and the university community as a source of concise information from subject matter experts on important structural engineering topics related to seismic design.

Standards and Codes:

Each TechBrief will be a concise synthesis of recent research results, model building code provisions and recommended design practices as developed by recognized experts in structural steel and reinforced masonry, as appropriate. The document will be completely compatible with existing and developing model building code provisions. The braced frame TechBrief will assist designers in their application of AISC 341 (see endnote i) and ASCE 7[4]. The masonry TechBrief will assist designers in their application of MSJC[3] and ASCE 7[4].


[5] “Steel Special Moment Frames: A Historic Perspective” Scott M. Adan and Ronald O. Hamburger, Structure Magazine, June 2010.

[6] Seismic Performance  Assessment of Buildings, Volume 1 – Methodology  and Volume 2 Implementation Guide, FEMA P-58, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 2012.