Logo for Vibrationdamage.com

Vibration and Damage

 Home Up Vibration 101 Is Damage Possible? Pre-Construction Vibration and Damage Vibration and Distance Vibration Potential Pursuing A Claim Vibration Monitoring Blasting Vibrations Non-construction Vibrations Avoiding  Damage More Information Closing Thoughts


Recognizing Damage
Recording Damage

Vibration doesn't always cause damage to homes or buildings, even if the vibration is felt by the residents. There are many, often interacting, factors which can affect the likelihood (probability) of vibration damage from construction or other sources. Estimating the probability of damage (or the probability that damage was caused) to a given house or other structure is considerably more complicated than simply comparing the peak particle velocity (PPV) of a ground vibration with an, often, poorly-chosen vibration standard and, thereby, declaring the vibration "safe" or "allowable". Unfortunately, such scientifically-unfounded and questionable uses of vibration data and standards are much too common. Here, I will discuss, in a reasonably non-technical manner, what some of the factors contributing to damage are and how they can affect damage probabilities.

Human Perception and Vibration Damage

Because people are more sensitive in perceiving vibration than structures are to damage from vibration[1],[2], the mere presence of construction-caused vibration is neither proof of caused damage nor suggestive, by itself, of forthcoming damage. Humans begin to perceive vibration at around 0.005 in/sec peak particle velocity,[12] while one of the lowest proposed allowable ground vibration velocities for structures is at 0.05 in/sec - a factor of ten higher. The longer a vibration of a given peak velocity lasts, the more disturbing people will find it.[8] It is also recognized in the vibration scientific literature, and in the vibration standards derived from that literature, that the longer a vibration lasts, the greater the probability of it causing damage, all other things being equal.[9]

Other Damage Causes

Most houses more than ten years old or so will have a few pre-existing (i.e. before construction start) hairline cosmetic cracks in drywall, stucco, etc. A few examples of cosmetic cracking can arise from slight settling, ground movement, temperature and humidity cycling, and even, in extreme cases (hurricanes, tornadoes), wind loading.[18] Hairline drywall cracks are often very hard to see, especially if you don't make a specific effort to find them. Thus, merely discovering a small, hairline drywall crack is not, by itself, a sign of a construction vibration cause, even if construction is occurring and producing felt vibration. However, if you suddenly find cracks in almost every room in the home, especially diagonal cracks at corners of windows and doors, with construction ongoing or recently completed, you should look into construction vibration as a possible contributor or cause.

Factors Affecting Damage Probability

In the broadest sense, ground vibration velocity (PPV), duration, number of repetitions and repetition rate of the vibration all relate directly to the likelihood (probability) of damage caused by vibration.  Frequency distribution of the vibration also affects the probability, but inversely (i.e. the lower the frequency, the higher the probability of damage, all other factors being equal). Each type of vibration and vibration source has its own mix of these factors present at the same time. The interactions among these variables are not fully understood, although there is at least some knowledge of the effects of each of the variables separately.  The CVDG Pro's Vibration and Homes chapter explores some of what is known about these interactions. To give a sense of one aspect of damage contributor interaction, let's look at an example.

A vibration whose frequency overlaps the resonance frequency of a home has an enhanced capability for damage over vibrations whose frequencies do not have such direct overlaps. However, a resonant vibration whose duration is longer than the persistence time of the vibrations created in the home by the vibration, has a greatly enhanced chance of creating damage over one which is short-lived. In this circumstance, new vibrations reach the house before the old ones have died away, increasing the degree of resonant amplification of the ground vibration in the house structure. This example is relevant in a comparison of construction with blasting vibrations, because construction vibrations last far longer than the structure vibrations, while blasting vibrations persist for considerably less time than the house vibrations created by them.

On Damage Probabilities

Vibration damage probability, as with many other quantities in science, largely follows an S-shaped "sigmoid curve", of the idealized sort shown at right, as vibration velocity (a measure of the "intensity") increases.[7] Over a range of very low vibration velocities, no houses are damaged. At these low velocities, people may be able to feel the vibration, even though there is no visible effect on their homes. At the highest vibration velocities, virtually all homes experiencing the vibration are visibly damaged. Essentially all the people feeling such a high intensity vibration will be made distinctly uncomfortable by it.

That point at the vertical center of the sigmoid curve, which represents 50% probability of damage in this setting, can occur at different vibration velocity values, depending on the type and severity of damage examined and the vibration source. For example, information from USBM RI 8507 indicates that, for a single, low or high frequency, blasting-caused, vibration lasting less than "a few seconds", 50% of homes will experience "threshold" damage (see below for a discussion of the definitions of damage descriptions) at a peak particle velocity (PPV) of about 2 in/sec. For "minor" damage, that 50% point is at about 5 in/sec, while for "major" damage, it is at about 6 in/sec.[15] At the 5% probability level ("two standard deviation confidence level", see Vibration Standards and Statistics and Vibration Damage in the CVDG Pro for more explanation of the role of statistical analysis in setting and applying vibration limits), the PPV for threshold damage from blasting vibrations is in the 0.5 - 0.7 in/sec range, based on the same data. The OSM and USBM RI 8507 limit of 0.75 in/sec (0.5 in/sec in USBM RI 8507 for homes with plastered walls) for mid-frequencies is, thus, set at a level which has approximately a 5% probability of bringing about damage from a single, blasting-caused, direct ground vibration lasting less than a "few seconds".

The sigmoidal shape of the damage probability vs. vibration velocity curve has another important implication. The 5% damage probability level, where blasting standard limits are set, usually lies near the point on the sigmoidal curve where the damage probability begins to increase dramatically with slight increases in PPV. When one exceeds the standard PPV limit, the probability of damage rises very rapidly. This can be seen well in the diagram at right, re-plotted from blasting damage probability data in USBM RI 8507.[19]  For example, threshold damage (see below for discussion of this term) has a 5% probability for a velocity of 0.5 in/sec in blasting, but that probability doubles to 10% when the velocity increases to only 0.7 in/sec. Thus, even small increases of ground vibration velocity over that of the standard limit can dramatically increase damage probability. Those who are facing blasting damage may want to view the CVDG chapter, Blasting Vibrations, for an introduction to blasting and the vibrations it produces.

Construction Damage Probabilities

Blasting vibrations are both better studied and better suited to meaningful statistical analysis than construction vibrations.[16] Vibration sources, velocities, frequency distributions, operations and ways in which they are carried out are far more variable in construction vibration than in blasting vibration. For example, the vibration frequency distributions, PPV's and durations of vibratory compactor operations are utterly different from those from blasting or pile driving (see the CVDG Pro chapter, Vibration Signatures, for some real life examples). There are no studies of construction vibration comparable to those of blasting which provide either the 5% or 50% damage probability velocity for any specific type or source of construction vibration damage. It is widely understood in the scientific literature that the velocities for a specific probability of damage (or some other similar measure related to damage likelihood) are likely considerably lower than those for blasting (i.e. the damage probability is higher for a given ground vibration PPV associated with construction work than for the same PPV velocity associated with blasting).[20], [22] Thus, construction vibration standards set much lower "acceptable" vibration peak particle velocities (PPV's) for homes - typically, about one quarter of those set for blasting.[21], [24]

Construction Operation Vibrations

Some construction operations like blasting, demolition, pile driving and compaction have special vibration damage concerns attached to them, as I have indicated in the CVDG chapter, Vibration Potential. However, even these need not cause damage, if properly carried out far enough away from homes and guided by carefully-done vibration monitoring. The complicated relationship between distance and damage potential is discussed in much more detail in the CVDG chapter, Vibration and Distance. Thus, attributing damage with certainty to a specific vibration cause is often difficult, unless the formation of the damage is observed, documented and can be linked to known and documented actions causing vibration.

It is also highly desirable to have seismograph or accelerometer (e.g. from a smart phone or tablet computer) data showing the characteristics of the vibration itself in supporting an argument for damage causation (see DIY vibration monitoring chapters in the CVDG Pro for more). Since vibration monitoring data are either not recorded or not reported in most construction projects, it is often difficult to know if the vibrations warrant further investigation. To that end, Judging Vibrations (CVDG PDF and Pro) has some rough, non-numeric guidelines for separating those vibrations which are usually non-damaging from those whose damage potential warrants more inquiry.

Vibration Properties

Damage potential of a given vibration is often assumed, even by those who do vibration monitoring and consulting, to be governed only by the peak particle velocity ("PPV") of the vibration. However, the detailed frequency component makeup of the vibration, its duration and the number of times it is repeated all contribute to its potential for causing damage.

In the graphic at right are shown a video frame grab of a vibratory compactor passage during a paving operation, its corresponding transverse axis vibration waveform and the corresponding FFT-derived frequency spectrum at bottom. The measured vibration has a peak particle velocity in violation of the FTA vibration standard for frame homes, with the peak velocity frequency below 40 Hz (see Vibration Frequencies for more on the significance of vibration frequencies below 40 Hz), even though this compactor has a nominal vibration frequency of 66.7 Hz. The duration of the vibration is considerably longer than the five seconds of the waveform trace in the middle of the graphic. The frequency makeup and the duration can interact in several senses to increase still more the potential for causing damage, as described in the CVDG chapter, Resonance/Fatigue.

Structure Considerations

Structures respond differently to vibrations, both in the specifics of how they vibrate and their susceptibility to damage from vibration. The response of different structural types and materials to vibration has been fairly well-studied, especially for blasting vibration.[3] The building materials used, the building design, its age, the nature of the soil on which the building rests and level of maintenance of the structure are some of the important structural determinants of vibration damage resistance.

Engineered, steel-reinforced buildings are more resilient to vibration damage than engineered, non-reinforced structures.[4] These are both more vibration resistant than the timber frame or masonry homes which most people have. Once significantly damaged by vibration, buildings become more susceptible to further damage from subsequent vibration.[26] Thus, a modern home damaged by vibration should be considered more susceptible to future vibration damage until repaired; a correspondingly lower allowable vibration limit must be employed for it.[22]

Materials of building construction also show widely different resistance to vibration damage. Monolithic concrete, mortar and concrete blocks in good condition all require extreme vibration velocities to crack (see example at left of such a crack in a monolithic concrete home slab, caused by repeated pounding on asphalt pavement with a large excavator bucket 180 feet away). Plaster interior wall finishes are less resistant to vibration-caused cracking than drywall.[1] For more discussion of material susceptibility to vibration damage and what damage might tell us about the vibrations responsible for it, see Recognizing Damage. Each instance of damage must be carefully and scientifically evaluated, taking into account all the data, to draw valid conclusions about the cause of the damage.

Vibration Effects on Historic Structures and Cultural Artifacts

Historic structures, whether on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places or not, are usually even more prone to vibration damage than typical wood-frame homes. The greater concerns over historic structures arise from the design, structure age, building materials and building methods used. Maintenance can be an issue in some cases, as well.

Many historic or old homes in the Eastern part of the U.S. are built on rubble foundations, which are substantially more subject to damage from vibration than modern, concrete slab-on-grade or foundation wall construction. In the U.S. Southwest, for example, there are many structures of historical interest which are over 1000 years old (e.g. Casa Rinconada, shown at right, in Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico),[10] built by pre-European native peoples of stone masonry or adobe.[25] Such irreplaceable buildings require special preservation techniques and vibration standards set at the lower end of allowable vibration intensities.[2],[10] It has been proposed that the "Swiss standards" provide appropriate limits for protecting artifacts from vibration damage in museums housing fine art, although those authors indicate a necessity for a case-by-case evaluation, with attention to resonance effects.[12],[13]

Protection of historic structures in the U.S. is governed by the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended in 1992, as well as state and municipal laws and ordinances. Section 106 of NHPA provides a mechanism for review of proposed construction and other impacts on historic structures, whether registered on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places or not. Such "Section 106 reviews" can be powerful tools in assuring that the lower vibration limits for historic structures are known and observed during construction. For more on Section 106 reviews, see the CVDG chapter, Pre-construction.

Non-technical Vibration Damage Classifications

In litigation and other non-technical settings, vibration damage is usually classified as "structural" or "cosmetic" (sometimes seen as "architectural"). "Structural damage" is often construed to mean any damage adjudged (usually by an engineer or scientist) to have compromised the stability of the building. Damage to major home systems (e.g. plumbing, heating) should also be considered as structural damage, since they compromise the use of the home and often necessitate vacating the home for months at a time to effect repairs, just as other structural damage often does. "Cosmetic damage" is used to describe any other damage which affects "only" the appearance of the home, without endangering its ability to withstand the forces (e.g. gravity, wind-loading, etc.) normally applied to it or to function in the manner expected by the owner. Cosmetic damage can appear over, and mask, underlying structural damage.

Scientific Vibration Damage Classifications

The scientific literature of vibration damage rarely uses the "structural" and "cosmetic" classifications. Instead, the terms "threshold", "minor" and "major" are commonly used there to classify damage. Unfortunately, even these terms are not used in the same way in all studies, nor is there any accepted set of rules for applying them. This lack of consistent definition, precision, and coverage of all damage types means that it can be difficult to compare results from different studies due to different applications of these descriptions.

The phrase "threshold damage" is usually applied in cases where the "only" apparent damage is limited hairline (i.e. barely visible) cracking in drywall or plaster. However, some studies apply the term "threshold damage" to any occurrence of cracking, no matter how numerous, extensive, widespread or serious (e.g. cracking in the bodies of drywall sheets, cracks with different vertical positions of the two sides of the crack, cracks with large separations between the sides of the cracks). In many of the studies which use this terminology, a crack with visible separation, vertical offset between crack sides and running from floor to ceiling is placed in the same category as a barely visible hairline crack a few inches long.

"Minor damage" is often construed to include cases where there is extensive cracking of drywall, but no structural compromise of the home. Some uses of this terminology include examples of cracking of concrete blocks and monolithic (poured in a single piece) concrete, despite the fact that such damage to concrete requires vibration velocities far in excess of any U.S. vibration standard to produce.[5] Since most homes in the U.S. are built on poured concrete slabs, damage to exterior concrete is often accompanied by hidden slab damage.

"Major damage" in some studies means major structural damage only. In other studies, it includes damage to monolithic concrete and concrete blocks or even large amounts of cosmetic damage. For example, in one construction damage example, there were over 600 new cracks, extensive through-cracking of concrete blocks and mortar in property walls and monolithic concrete slabs (example photo above), and damage to multiple mechanical systems - all in one home of many damaged similarly. Some studies would classify such damage as minor, while others would classify it as major damage.

The blasting vibration damage study, USBM RI 8507, provides what it identifies as a "uniform classification" of damage,[6] using these terms, but its criteria neither agree with those used in some other studies cited by it nor are they sufficiently detailed to allow a clear and indisputable classification in all examples. For example, the USBM RI 8507 "uniform classification" criteria are silent on non-preexisting damage to concrete, concrete blocks and mortar.[11] The OSMRE Blasting Guidance Manual[14] indicates that such damage to concrete is one result of extreme vibration velocities, usually accompanied by other, obvious damage.

It is important to note that the use of these terms is almost entirely based on visible condition observations, rather than on any measurable quantity which can be related clearly and directly to damage severity or, by implication, vibration velocity. In practice, the severity of vibration-caused cracking is usually also considered to be related to the length, breadth, location (e.g. through a drywall sheet, as opposed to at a sheet join), overall number of cracks seen and distribution of them (e.g. confined to a single location within a home vs. widespread through out all the rooms in the home). Along with the presence and effect of any other types of damage present and reasonably attributable to construction operations, these factors should taken into account in estimating the degree of damage severity.

Damage Amounts

The inherent imprecision of all the terms commonly used for damage classification leads to considerable disagreement in their use and interpretation, even in the more precise scientific literature. I suggest that, for non-scientific settings (e.g. litigation), all these terms and their implications should be avoided. The only practical, quantified criterion of damage level in non-technical settings is cost of repair to pre-damage condition. The cost of repair is unlikely to be grossly understated or overstated, since repair contractors must examine the damage carefully and without bias to reach a competitive estimate for repair (see CVDG Pro chapter, Damage Repair, for more on this topic). If the repair requires vacating the house during the repair, the cost of moving and alternate housing should be considered a part of the "cost of repair". Repair cost is the criterion which should govern one's approach to damage, not ill-defined, subjective, non-standardized terminology, the implications of which may not be the ones intended by those performing the underlying scientific studies.

I propose that damage with repair costs under $10000 be characterized as "minimal damage", damage with repair costs between $10000 and $40,000 be termed as "substantial damage", and any damage whose repair cost is above $40,000 be categorized as "extensive damage". The intent of this terminology is not to characterize damage appearance and amount from a scientific standpoint or for a scientific use, but to provide a quantitative means of comparing and discussing damage degrees in non-scientific settings. The numbers associated with these characterizations will change over time,[17] with inflation in building costs, but the necessary adjustments can be done easily from economic data.

A Better Outcome

Ultimately, the ideal outcome for both homeowners and contractors is to achieve an effective degree of vibration "safety", which either eliminates vibration damage or confines it to threshold damage in small areas (i.e. not house-wide). Our CVDG Pro chapter, Vibration Safety, discusses methods of assessing and accomplishing a reasonable degree of vibration safety. Absolute and complete safety from vibration damage in construction may not be attainable in all examples, due to the constraints of the job and/or the locale. However, the large number and worldwide distribution of construction vibration damage examples suggests that we can do a considerably better job of avoiding unnecessary damage than we are currently.

Pre-ConstructionCVDG Recognizing Damage

[1] See, for example, Structure Response and Damage Produced by Ground Vibration From Surface Mine Blasting, D. E. Siskind, M. S. Stagg, J. W. Kopp, and C. H. Dowding, United States Bureau of Mines Report of Investigations 8507 (USBM RI 8507), 1980, p. 68
[2] See Construction Practices to Address Construction Vibration and Potential Effects on Historic Buildings Adjacent to Transportation Projects report (National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), Project 25-25 (Task 72)) for an introduction to vibration effects on historic structures.
[3] See USBM RI 8507 and the more recent Comparative Study of Structure Response to Coal Mine Blasting, C. T. Aimone-Martin, M. A. Martell, L. M. McKenna, D. E. Siskind, C. H. Dowding, 2003
[4] Transit Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment, Carl E. Hanson, David A. Towers, and Lance D. Meister, FTA-VA-90-1003-06, May 2006 (Federal Transit Administration's Noise and Vibration Manual), p. 12-13
[5] Structure Response and Damage Produced by Ground Vibration From Surface Mine Blasting, D. E. Siskind, M. S. Stagg, J. W. Kopp, and C. H. Dowding, United States Bureau of Mines Report of Investigations 8507 (USBM RI 8507), 1980, p. 45
[6] Ibid., p. 49, Table 10
[7] The sigmoid curve is the indefinite integral (see Vibration Measures in the CVDG Pro for the meaning of this and other terms from the calculus) of the Gaussian or normal error function used to describe vibration damage probabilities when setting vibration standards. Simply evaluating the appropriate sigmoid function at the value of the vibration velocity gives the total probability of damage at that velocity value directly, at least in principle. For those who have an interest in statistics, this sigmoid function is known as the "Cumulative Distribution Function" (CDF) of the Gaussian. Vibration damage data do not follow a sigmoid rigorously at the vibration extremes (less than 5% probability of damage or greater than 95% probability). The equation describing the sigmoid curve has "asymptotes" (essentially the nearly "flat" parts at either extreme of the curve) approaching 0 and 100% damage, but never actually reaching 0 or 100%. Real vibration damage data show 0% damage at very low vibration velocities and 100% damage at very high vibration velocities. See Structure Response and Damage Produced by Ground Vibration From Surface Mine Blasting, D. E. Siskind, M. S. Stagg, J. W. Kopp, and C. H. Dowding, United States Bureau of Mines Report of Investigations 8507 (USBM RI 8507), 1980, pp. 58-59 for more on this point.
[8] For example, Structure Response and Damage Produced by Ground Vibration From Surface Mine Blasting, D. E. Siskind, M. S. Stagg, J. W. Kopp, and C. H. Dowding, United States Bureau of Mines Report of Investigations 8507 (USBM RI 8507), 1980, p. 62, et seq.
[9] See, for example, Ibid., p. 72  
[10] A report of vibration analyses at Chaco Canyon suggests vibration limits of 2 mm/sec (0.08 in/sec) and minimum distances of 1.2 km (3936 ft.) from blasting, 0.5 km (1640 ft.) from railroad traffic, 45 m (148 ft.) from road building and 25 m (82 ft.) from vehicular traffic for these historic structures, including Casa Rinconada shown in the photo: Seismic and Vibration Hazard Investigations of Chaco Culture National Historical Park, K. W. King, S. T. Algermissen, and P. J. McDermott, USGS Open-File Report 85-529, 1985
[11] Structure Response and Damage Produced by Ground Vibration From Surface Mine Blasting, D. E. Siskind, M. S. Stagg, J. W. Kopp, and C. H. Dowding, United States Bureau of Mines Report of Investigations 8507 (USBM RI 8507), 1980, p. 44
[12] Vibration Limits for Historic Buildings and Art Collections, Arne P. Johnson and W. Robert Hannen, Journal of Preservation Technology, 46:2-3, 2015, pp 66-74
[13] Baseline limits for allowable vibrations for objects, Wei, W., L. Sauvage, and J. Wölk. 2014. In ICOM-CC 17th Triennial Conference Preprints, Melbourne, 15–19 September 2014, ed. J. Bridgland, art. 1516, 7 pp. Paris: International Council of Museums.
[14]  OSMRE Blasting Guidance Manual, Michael F. Rosenthal and Gregory L. Morlock, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, United States Department of the Interior, 1987, p. 121
[15] Structure Response and Damage Produced by Ground Vibration From Surface Mine Blasting, D. E. Siskind, M. S. Stagg, J. W. Kopp, and C. H. Dowding, United States Bureau of Mines Report of Investigations 8507 (USBM RI 8507), 1980, pp. 58-59
[16] There is more similarity between separate, short-duration blasting events, making them better suited to statistical treatment, than there is between long-lasting construction vibration events. Construction vibration can be caused by different kinds of equipment, operating for different lengths of times, with, typically, multiple passes in front of a given location, having both different frequency distributions and different degrees of vibration transfer to the ground, and, often, different use of the equipment by the operators. There is almost no control of construction vibration by governmental entities than blasting vibration, so these differences become even more important.
[17] The cost thresholds given here are based on 2020 numbers and should be increased by the total of amount of inflation in construction costs since that time.
[18] Effects of Repeated Blasting on a Wood-Frame House, Mark S. Stagg, David E. Siskind, Michael G. Stevens, and Charles H. Dowding, United States Bureau of Mines Report of Investigations 8896 (USBM RI 8896), 1984
[19] Structure Response and Damage Produced by Ground Vibration From Surface Mine Blasting, D. E. Siskind, M. S. Stagg, J. W. Kopp, and C. H. Dowding, United States Bureau of Mines Report of Investigations 8507 (USBM RI 8507), 1980, pp. 58-60. The probabilities on this plot were estimated directly from the "Set 7" log-normal plot on p. 59 of that study and re-plotted as shown in the diagram of blasting damage probabilities. In a log-normal relationship, the damage probability is directly related to the natural log of the PPV (ln(PPV)), not the PPV itself. The velocities on the plot were drawn from the best-fit lines on the log-normal plot. These probabilities represent the risk of damage to a group of homes of similar construction from a single blast producing a given PPV, not the risk of damage to a single home from multiple blasts. According to the same study, also on p. 59, "For predictive purposes, the probability analysis results are more reliable. The lowest values of damage actually observed correspond quite closely to the 5-pct damage probabilities, except for the high frequency data (set 6)." This observation provides support for the choice of the 5% damage probability level for the suggested PPV limits
[20] See the Vibration and Homes chapter in the CVDG Pro for a basic approach to estimating damage probabilities for construction vibration as a function of PPV.
[21] None of these arguments explicitly take into account the fact that almost all construction-related vibrations are repeated many times, with resulting total vibration exposures from tens to hundreds of times that of worst-case blasting at an active mine over the same time period (see Resonance/Fatigue for a discussion of actual construction vibration data supporting this conclusion). The blasting probabilities discussed in this chapter apply to a single blast of a given PPV interacting with a group of similar homes, not probabilities for multiple blasts interacting with a single given home. Multiple separate event probabilities are additive, although the specific mathematical relationship which describes that addition is unknown for construction vibration. Thus, a seemingly low 5% probability of damage from a single event, like those for the blasting data above, may become an unacceptably high probability of damage with many vibration events (e.g. 30-50 passes with a vibratory compactor in the typical case of paving two or more lanes of a road in two or more layers). The CVDG Pro chapters, Statistics and Vibration Damage and Vibration and Homes, have much more discussion and information on this topic.The Vibrationdamage.com Ground Vibration and Safe Distance Calculator, available for free download to registered users of the CVDG and CVDG Pro, has a blasting damage probability calculator which can estimate damage probabilities for single blasts and provide a sum probability for multiple blasts whose vibration PPV's are available or can be estimated. 
[22] A qualitative estimate of the damage probability, applicable to the Swiss standards for construction vibration damage, has been published: "For peak particle velocities twice as high as the given guide values damage is to be expected." Swiss Standard for Vibrational Damage to Buildings, J. Studer and A. Susstrunk, Proceedings, X. Int. Conf. ISSMFE, Stockholm, Vol. 3., p. 308 (1981)
[23] These data are incomplete in that the contractor and all its consultants "lost" the overwhelming majority of data for the paving/compaction operations. Those data which were produced for the paving/compaction showed the highest PPV's measured. No data at all were recorded for the most intense vibrations, caused by asphalt demolition by pounding on it with an excavator bucket. Many homes were damaged by this project, as documented by over 2000 photos and 14 hours of videotape.
[24] Construction companies often cite, inappropriately, the OSM blasting standard of limit of 0.75 in/sec, when construction causes damage. There are many reasons why such a citation is inappropriate. However, the Swiss standards for construction vibration set the PPV limit for timber-framed homes at 0.2 in/sec. The U.S. FTA adopts the same Swiss numerical limits. A scientific paper (see footnote 22) on the Swiss standards indicates that damage is "to be expected" when the vibration level is at twice the Swiss limit. Thus, those who use the OSM standard for construction situations, at nearly FOUR times the Swiss limit for construction, are HIGHLY LIKELY to cause damage. This may go a long way toward explaining why damage commonly occurs when people try to apply blasting standards in non-blasting construction situations.
[25] Adobe structures are common all over the world, especially in the American Southwest and in areas with limited building resources. They can be damaged by vibration, just as buildings of different construction can experience damage. The vibration damage patterns in them resemble those found in other structures. Because the owners of such structures are often without financial means to remedy damage, they must be given special consideration when construction is contemplated near them. For some vibration effects studies on adobe structures in two very different locations and environments see: Vibration Investigation of the Museum Building at White Sands National Monument, New Mexico Kenneth W. King, David L. Carver, and David M. Worley, U.S. Department of the Interior Geological Survey, Open-File Report 88-544, 1988; Structural Behaviour and Retrofitting of Adobe Masonry Buildings, Humberto Varum, Nicola Tarque, Dora Silveira, Guido Camata, Bruno Lobo, Marcial Blondet, António Figueiredo, Muhammad Masood Rafi, Cristina Oliveira and Aníbal Costa, A. Costa et al. (eds.), Structural Rehabilitation of Old Buildings, Building Pathology and Rehabilitation 2, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-39686-1_2, 2014  
[26] "Therefore, for freshly renovated buildings and buildings in a poor condition a reduction of the limiting values is necessary. From experience it is known that such buildings have effectively a reduced stiffness and, thus, in the standard they are put in the next lower category." Swiss Standard for Vibrational Damage to Buildings, J. Studer and A. Susstrunk, Proceedings, X. Int. Conf. ISSMFE, Stockholm, Vol. 3., p. 309 (1981)

This is a chapter from the Construction Vibration Damage Guide for Homeowners (CVDG), a 100+ page free book with over 300 color photos, diagrams and other illustrations. It is available at https://vibrationdamage.com as a series of web pages or in full, web navigation and ad-free, as a downloadable PDF e-book, with additional content not available on the web. The free version of the CVDG is licensed to homeowners and others for personal, at-home use only. A Professional Edition (CVDG Pro), licensed for business use and with over three times as much content, can be ordered from our Order the CVDG Pro page, usually with same-day delivery. You can comment about this page or ask questions of the author, Dr. John M. Zeigler, by using our Visitor Comment form. If you would like to discuss vibration damage issues and view additional content not found in the CVDG, Join us on Facebook. Please Like us while you're there.


 Home Up Contact Us Site Contents Document Index Top Tips CVDG Overview CVDG Pro - Overview Order the CVDG Pro Information Download Site Policies About

E-mail to drzeigler@vibrationdamage.com or send online questions or comments about Vibrationdamage.com.
https://www.vibrationdamage.com,  ©Copyright 2013-2023 John M. Zeigler
Last modified: 03/20/23