Design Practice to Prevent Floor Vibrations
The current trend towards longer spans and lighter floor systems, combined with
reduced damping and new activities, such as aerobics exercises, have resulted in a
significant increase in the number of floor vibration complaints by building owners and
occupants. This has increased the degree of attention paid during the design process, to
preventing, or reducing floor vibration problems.
The purpose of this publication is to provide design engineers with a practical yet
comprehensive review of the criteria and methods available to prevent floor vibration
Because of the complexities involved in human response to vibration and the different
objectives persued by various investigators, the predictions of the methods presented
here are not always consistent. Unfortunately, a general consensus on the relative
accuracy and reliability of these methods does not yet exist. However, it is hoped that
collective review, application, and comparison of these methods will help to form this
seriously needed consensus in the near future.
Annoying floor vibrations may be caused by occupant activities. Walking, dancing,
jumping, aerobics, and audience participation at music concerts and sporting events are
some prime examples of occupant activities which create floor vibrations.
Operation of mechanical equipment is another cause for concern. Heating, ventilation,
and air-conditioning systems (HVAC) as well as washing and drying machines, if not
properly isolated, can cause serious vibration problems.
Most of the sources contributing to reported human discomfort rest on the floor system
itself. However, human activities or machinery off a floor can cause significant floor
vibrations. On more than one occasion, aerobics on one floor of a high-rise building has
been reported to cause vibration discomfort at another level in the building. The
vibrations caused by automobiles on parking levels below have been reported to disrupt
sensitive laboratory work on upper floors. Other equipment and activities off the floor
that can contribute to a floor vibration problem are ground or air traffic, drilling, impact
of falling objects, and other construction related events.
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