Report # 67 : Popular, non-engineered urban housing on flat terrain

by Argimiro C. Gandica, Francisco L. Almansa

This is an urban housing construction type found in the Andean states of Venezuela. In some cities, e.g., Merida, this construction accounts for 40% of the total building stock. Typical buildings of this type are two to three stories high. Typically, there are two or three bays in the longitudinal direction (spaced at 3 to 4 m) and four or five bays in the transverse direction (4 to 5 m apart). The main load-bearing system consists of reinforced concrete frame (columns and beams) with hollow clay tile, and masonry-infill walls. The roof structure consists of lightweight roofing (zinc and/or acclimatized galvanized sheets) supported by I-shaped steel beams. The building’s roof level is used as a terrace with a one-meter-high masonry parapet, which serves as a guardrail on the slab perimeter. This is a non-engineered construction, i.e., these buildings are constructed by the owners. Because of the lack of adequate detailing in the longitudinal and transverse steel reinforcement bars, beam-column connections are inadequate and do not provide the continuity required for adequate seismic performance.