Several seismic design codes around the world restrict the use of theit Equivalent Lateral Force analysis method to structures satisfying structural regularity limits. These regularity limits are based on engineering judgement and lack quantitative justification. One common irregularity is that of a change in vertical stiffness over the building height. This stiffness irregularity is almost always associated with a change in vertical strength over the building height. For this reason, the effect of various realistic combinations of stiffness–strength irregularity in shear-type buildings is evaluated to quantify regularity limits.
Structures analysed had 3, 5, 9 and 15 storeys, and the floor mass at all the levels were kept the same. Both regular and irregular structures were designed in accordance with the Equivalent Lateral Force procedure to produce the same engineering demand parameter. Structural ductility factors of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, and target (design) interstorey drift ratios ranging between 0.5 and 3%, were used in this study. The irregular structures were created by modifying specific storey lateral stiffnesses from that of the regular structure. Strengths at these storeys were also modified to ensure realistic relationships between stiffness and strength. The modified structures were then redesigned until the target interstorey drift ratio was achieved at the critical storey. Inelastic dynamic time-history analysis was conducted to compare the maximum interstorey drift ratio demands of the regular and irregular structures. Simple equations were developed to estimate possible variations in demand due to vertical stiffness–strength irregularity applied at critical locations in structures. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.