It is possible to reduce residual and maximum drifts in buildings by adding “elastic stories” that engage gravity columns in seismic response. An elastic story is a story wherein the buckling restrained brace frame (BRBF) size is increased to prevent yielding when an earthquake occurs. Buildings ranging from 4–16 stories were designed with various elastic story brace sizes and locations to determine the optimal combination to best reduce drifts. Gravity column stiffnesses were also varied in elastic story buildings to determine the effects on drifts. Computer models were used to analyze these buildings under a suite of earthquakes. Adding elastic stories reduce residual drifts 34% to 65% in 4- to 16-story BRBF buildings. General recommendations are made to achieve optimal reductions in drifts. For buildings with six or more stories, drifts were generally reduced most when an elastic story was added to every 4th story starting at level 1 (the bottom story). The most effective size for the braces in the elastic story appears to be three times the original brace size. For buildings with less than six stories, adding a three times elastic story to the bottom level was observed to reduce drifts the most. Further research is also recommended to confirm the optimal location and size of elastic stories for buildings with differing number of stories. Increasing gravity column stiffnesses in buildings with elastic stories helps to further reduce drifts, however it may not be economical. Residual drifts were observed to decrease significantly more than maximum drifts when elastic stories were added to buildings. Maximum drifts generally decreased at some levels, but also increased at others when elastic stories were used.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





residual drift, buckling restrained braced frame, elastic story, gravity column