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book review

How Concrete Frames Can Resist Progressive Collapse

The stated purpose of Prevention of Progressive Collapse in Multistory Concrete Buildings (2006, Structures and Codes Institute, Palatine, Ill.) is to "help bridge the information gap" between practicing structural engineers and progressive collapse prevention in building design.

Authors Francis K. Humay, Steven M. Baldridge and S.K. Ghosh present the American Society of Civil Engineers definition of progressive collapse (PC) as a springboard for their 304-page volume that can best be described as a "how to" guide. ASCE-7-02 defines PC as "the spread of an initial local failure from element to element resulting, eventually, in the collapse of an entire structure or a disproportionately large part of it." In the preface, the authors also say "this phenomenon raises particular concern since progressive collapse is often, though not always, disproportionate, meaning that the collapse is out of proportion to the triggering event." The authors then present the Alfred P. Murrah Building, razed by a bomb in April 1995, as an example of both progressive and disproportionate collapse. Their view, presented as fact, has been a subject of debate in the engineering community.

The introduction contains a blanket statement that is also a subject of debate: "Engineers agree, however, that consideration of a structure's behavior when subjected to extraordinary loading should be a matter of standard practice."

Beyond the preface and the introduction, the book gets down to the facts. It provides summaries of the U.S. Dept. of Defense and General Services Administration approaches to progressive collapse mitigation. It also gives examples of progressive collapse mitigation design for different building occupancies with different structural concrete frames. Formulas and illustrations accompany text.

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