Award of Merit: Strengthening Category
Rehabilitation and Seismic Retrofit of Residencias Galileo
Submitted by B.R.S. Ingenieros, C.A.
B.R.S. Ingenieros, C.A
Residencias Galileo is a 10-story building in Caracas, Venezuela, constructed in 1950. It has a basement for parking, one level for office and commercial space, and eight levels for residential apartments. Initially, it had been occupied for 40 years, after which it stood abandoned until 2006, when the owner decided to refurbish it for subsequent selling. At the time the original structure was designed and constructed, seismic provisions in building codes were underestimated. Current codes have at least triple the seismic loads. The new codes also emphasize the need for retrofitting the structure of any building that has undergone major repairs, refurbishments or modifications in use.
The project involved not only the structural repair and retrofit but also a complete refurbishing of the building. The project also involved a site inspection, nondestructive and destructive tests, dynamic analysis, and design of the rehabilitation. Lateral stiffness, strength, and ductility deficiencies were detected in the original structure. The main repair and strengthening methods applied were section enlargement of some columns and beams, construction of additional reinforced concrete beams, strengthening of columns and joints using carbon fiber-reinforced polymers (CFRP), and some minor corrosion repairs.
Some adjustments to the retrofitting project were necessary. A challenging team effort among the owner, the designer, and the contractor was necessary to deal with the modification without affecting execution time and costs. Finally, the project was executed with less than 10% deviation from the original budget cost and the estimated time schedule. Building restoration proved to be much more profitable and cost effective than demolishing the old structure and constructing a new equivalent building.