Structural designs of tall buildings are becoming increasingly more ambitious regarding building height or the slenderness ratios. Since high-grade office or residential space is created, an appropriate design life is expected. Nonetheless, the dynamic response to the fundamental load of tall buildings is only rarely systematically monitored. Only a select few tall buildings (e.g. Burj Khalifa) employ a monitoring system, Structural Health Monitoring (SHM), and the results are rarely discussed.
SHM systems, in principle, consist of sensors (e.g. accelerometers) that are installed in the structure to collect response measurements caused by some external or internal stimuli. These sensors are simple to install and can provide a powerful tool for determining structural damage by monitoring changes of dynamic parameters. The acquired SHM data can then be assessed for vibration-based damage detection. Vibration behavior of a structure is directly affected by the physical characteristics of the structure. If a structure is damaged, the stiffness of the structure changes, leading to a change in the vibration characteristics. Therefore, measurement and monitoring of vibration characteristics should theoretically permit the detection of both the location and severity of damage. SHM methods are widely applied in civil structures, mostly bridges. A similar benefit can be expected for tall buildings.
The following presentation presents a practically oriented overview of common techniques, elaborating on the potential information which can be gathered and highlighting the benefits for owners and structural engineers. In addition, we present hardware solutions that are often implemented together with structural control measures such as Tuned Mass Dampers, etc.