PREcast Seismic Structural System (PRESSS)

width=250Pushing earthquake engineering into new territory is a damage resistant design system based around concrete structural elements. Referred to as PRESSS, this seismic design solution was developed at the University of California in San Diego during the 1990s under the leadership of New Zealand structural engineer Nigel Priestley.

Key to PRESSS is its use of un-bonded post tensioning cables within a precast wall, beam and column structure, which along with specially designed ductile joints, allow for a controlled rocking mechanism that returns the building to upright without significant structural damage, even after a major seismic event.

Specifically, PRESSS reduces movements under small earthquakes through its pre-rocking stiffness, while for larger seismic events the yield action of its ductile joints combine with the un-bonded post tensioning cables to spring the building back to its original vertical position.

PRESSS offers enhanced performance during a seismic event and in turn minimal repair requirements, as well as being efficient and economical to construct through the use of precast concrete.


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“As we head towards the future in terms of rebuilding Christchurch we would like to think there would be a strong push towards more PRESSS technology buildings.”

GARY HAVERLAND
STRUCTEX


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Selected Resources

Title: Summary of test results from the PRESSS 5 story precast concrete building.
Author: Priestley, M.J.N.
Source: SESOC. April 2000, 13 (1): 21-37.

Title: Beating the shake: the breakthrough in Precast Seismic Structural Systems.
Source: Concrete (Journal of the Cement & Concrete Association of New Zealand). June 2000, 44 (2): 32-33.

Title: Multi-storey construction: from research to practice.
Source: Concrete (Journal of the Cement & Concrete Association of New Zealand). September 2000, 44 (3): 17-19.

Title: Preliminary results and conclusions from the PRESSS five storey precast concrete testing building.
Author: Priestley, Nigel.
Source: New Zealand Concrete Society Technical Conference and AGM [2000: Taupo]

Title: A presentation of the PRESSS technology applied to A 39 Storey building by Pankow Builders in California.
Author: Ingham, Jason.
Source: New Zealand Concrete Society Technical Conference and AGM [2000: Taupo]

Title: Dynamic testing of precast, post-tensioned rocking wall systems with alternative dissipating solutions.
Author: Marriott, D. (Dion) (Univ of Canterbury)
Source: Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (1999), Jun 2008; v.41 n.2:p.90-103

Title: 21st Century precast: the detailing and manufacture of NZ's first multi‑storey PRESSS building.
Author: Alistair Cattanach & Stefano Pampanin.
Source: New Zealand Concrete Industry Conference [2008: Rotorua]

Title: NZ's first multi-storey PRESSS building.
Source: Concrete (Journal of the Cement & Concrete Association of New Zealand). July 2009, 53 (2). 10-11

Title: PRESSS design handbook – supported by seminar series during March 2010.
Author: New Zealand Concrete Society.
Date: 2010

Title: Re-centering requirements for the seismic design of self-centering systems
Author: Henry, R.S., Sritharan, S. & Ingham, J.M.
Source: Proceedings of the Ninth Pacific Conference on Earthquake Engineering: Building an Earthquake-Resilient Society, 14-16 April, 2011, Auckland, New Zealand

Title: Feasibility of high-rise buildings with PRESSS-technology
Author: M. Palmieri & S. Pampanin
Source: Proceedings of the Ninth Pacific Conference on Earthquake Engineering: Building an Earthquake-Resilient Society, 14-16 April, 2011, Auckland, New Zealand

Title: PRESSS test
Author: Olsen, Stephen
Source: Engineering insight, Jul/Aug 2011; v.12 n.4:p.28-31

Title: Damage avoidance design systems.
Author: Gaimster, Rob.
Source: Progressive building, Oct/Nov 2011; n.89:p.58-59

Title: Expectation meets reality: Seismic performance of post-tensioned precast concrete Southern Cross endoscopy building during the 22nd Feb 2011 Christchurch earthquake
Author: Stefano Pampanin, Weng Yuen Kam, Gary Haveland & Sean Gardiner
Source: New Zealand Concrete Industry Conference [2011: Rotorua].