Causes of collapse and damage to low-rise RC buildings in recent Turkish earthquakes
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This study assesses performance objectives defined in the Turkish Earthquake Code (TEC) in order to make a realistic evaluation related to heavy damage and collapse reasons of reinforced concrete (RC) buildings that experienced severe earthquakes in Turkey. A series of three-dimensional RC buildings with different characteristics and representing low-rise structures damaged and collapsed in the earthquake areas is designed according to Turkish codes (Turkish Design Standards and Turkish Earthquake Code). Pushover analyses are carried out to determine nonlinear behavior of the buildings under earthquake loads. Building performances are determined by using the displacement coefficients method, which is a commonly used nonlinear static evaluation procedure for different seismic hazard levels defined in the TEC. The stipulated performance objectives in the TEC are checked in terms of plastic rotations and maximum story drift. From the results of this research, it can be concluded that low-rise RC buildings designed according to Turkish codes sufficiently provide for the performance objectives stipulated in the TEC. Reasons for the heavy damages and collapses of RC buildings during severe earthquakes are explained by commonly occurring themes (i.e., project errors, poor quality of construction, modifications of buildings, etc.).