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Research Project Method



This project will study the subject of Seismic Bearing Capacity of Skyscrapers and Seismic Earth Pressures. As the population of the whole world is rising rapidly, the metropolitans are struggling to expand themselves. At this situation, in order to include a larger number of people in a smaller occupying area the skyscraper serves the best purpose. Nowadays the series of various skyscrapers dominates the morning and evening skylines of a city. However, these tall buildings have their own limitations. Most important are the threats of Earthquakes and destructive winds. As mentioned by Gonzalez R. (2014, p.56),  the soil has only a certain amount of Bearing Capacity depending on the positions of Geological Plates, which should not be disturbed.

Research Rationale

Initially the tall buildings were built to achieve engineering marvels and serving as the operating area of the corporate world. However, in the present urban scenario because of growing population this has become a necessity in the cities to accommodate a large number of people in a limited residential area (Golov et al. 2018, p.3033).

The rapid increase in the number of skyscrapers in the urban area has created a huge amount of load upon the ground. And this extra amount of weight is increasing the risk of Earthquake in those areas. Several such issues have been faced by Ashlar Construction (NW) Limited in relation to construction of high rise buildings. In many cases, there have been problems and complaints faced by employees and management with regards to construction of high rise buildings. However, they have been cautious enough to develop proper mechanism to rectify the issues faced by customers. This has led to the rise of popularity of the company by 52% rise in profit margin in 2017, compared to that in 2016 and years before that (acnw.uk.com, 2017).

If not taken care of the building technology at the very beginning, the tall building can collapse at any moment causing horrific casualties of human lives, properties and businesses. There are many drawbacks of these vertical cities. These tall buildings are also vulnerable to strong winds, especially the upper floors. However, the upper floors become the most susceptible in case of a sudden earthquake.


       To identify the seismic bearing capacity of skyscrapers and seismic earth pressures, as calculated and stated by engineers of Ashlar Construction (NW) Limited.

       To evaluate the factors that the civil engineers of Ashlar Construction (NW) Limited have to consider while constructing a skyscraper.

       To analyse the challenges that the engineers of Ashlar Construction (NW) Limited face while constructing a skyscraper.

       To recommend a possible solution to the issues identified in case of Ashlar Construction (NW) Limited.

Research Questions

       What the seismic bearing capacity of skyscrapers and seismic earth pressures is as calculated and stated by engineers of Ashlar Construction (NW) Limited?

       What are the factors that the civil engineers of Ashlar Construction (NW) Limited have to consider while constructing a skyscraper?

       What are the challenges that the engineers of Ashlar Construction (NW) Limited face while constructing a skyscraper?

       What is the possible solution to the issues identified in case of Ashlar Construction (NW) Limited.?

Significance of the Topic

According to Geotechnical Engineering the capacity of soil to bear the amount of load put on the ground is called the Bearing Capacity of the soil. It is actually the maximum average contact pressure between the foundation of the building and the soil. There is another term called Ultimate Bearing Capacity which indicates the maximum amount of pressure that can be supported without the collapse of the building. Also there are three types of shear failure that a building can witness, namely General Shear Failure, Local Shear Failure and Punching Shear Failure. In this respect the Bearing Capacity Theory by Terzaghi deserves to be mentioned. He was the first person to state that in order to give the building a strong and deep foundation its Depth must be equal to the width of the Foundation. Based on this principle, Terzaghi developed a process of determining the Bearing Capacity of the soil. He achieved this by taking some factors into account like soil friction, surcharge, soil cohesion etc. 

Aly (2014, p.25), opines that in order to avoid such mishaps of shear failure, the engineers should remember all these factors. The project significantly identifies the criteria that the civil engineers follow before starting up a project of High-Rising building.

2.1 Matching the resources (Primary and secondary)    

  To fulfil the objectives of the project, data has been collected from various sources available on the internet. In order to find appropriate answers help has been taken from all the openly available sources. These have acted as the Secondary sources of information and resources of the project. Information has also been collated from the interview and conversations that has been with the four company managers of Ashlar Construction (NW) Limited. These have been very helpful as the Primary Sources of information in implementing the objectives of the project. In answer to the first question about what the seismic bearing capacity of skyscrapers and seismic earth pressures is, the 1st Manager has explained their motto and principles of the building business right from the beginning. An appropriate answer of the question number 2 is found in a journal by Korobiichuk et al. (2016, p.51). Answering the 3rd questions, the 3rd Manager has spoken about the challenges the civil engineers generally face in attempt to set up a new skyscraper and he has also mentioned some challenges that the engineers face as per his own experiences. The last question is the quest of this project, and in this quest both the research-journals as well as the answer of the 4th Manager were really helpful. The 4th Manager informed about the standard measures taken by the civil engineers to prevent any of the unfortunate incidents that may occur at the building site. He also outlined the challenges that come up as a result of seismic pressure after the skyscraper becomes operational. Both the Primary and Secondary resources were helpful in actualizing the objectives of the project.

2.2 Literature review 

The last few decades in the history of global construction has seen a rising trends of constructing exceptionally tall buildings (Eichner and Ivanova, 2018, p.3065). The highest number of such skyscrapers is normally concentrated in the parts of the world where the density of the population, the concentration of the Corporations and Industries are on the higher side. In order to construct such skyscrapers the engineers are taking up new technologies and sometimes inventing their own solution to cater the need of their clients. Therefore, they are facing numerous challenges every day.

A civil engineer need to consider a number of factors while constructing a skyscraper. First of all, the engineer must be careful that he is selecting the highest quality of building materials available in the market. They also ensure that a viable planning of the structure has been approved keeping in mind the factors regarding sic bearing capacity of that area. This is because in case of a skyscraper, even a smallest amount of carelessness can cause a serious disaster. The engineer also needs to be careful about the environmental cost of the building i.e. whether there are any serious loopholes in the planning of the skyscraper that may affect the environment negatively (Korol and Kustikova, 2018, p.209). In most cases the skyscrapers are generally surrounded by buildings of comparatively smaller sizes. This may create an imbalance of load on the ground. An engineer needs to be careful to maintain a balance in the distribution of loads on the ground.

The already established factors in some theories help the engineer to carry forward with the planning of a high-rising building. The civil engineers take the ideas about the behaviour of some basic structures like beams, pillars, arches etc. from the Theories of Structure. Information regarding the nature of behaviour of an earthquake-prone area can also be obtained from the theorem. In order to plan a robust structure the knowledge of the methodological investigation such as stability, rigidity of the structure must be considered. Structural design comes up as a useful material in that. Also there are many older concept which do not go in the present day concept of building a construction, such as the trial and error method mentioned in the Building System Theory though it might be helpful in planning the design accordingly.

According to Svärd and Partovi (2016, p.49), such high demand for super-high skyscrapers are posing challenges for the civil engineers across the world. As the absence of proper land is an issue, the civil engineers are trying to build skyscrapers on any possible terrain to cater the interest of the clients. They are constantly going against the norms of engineering, accepting new challenges. As per Ibragimov and Danilov (2018, p.2028), in order to do this they are inventing new edge technology as the old methods of constructions are no more applicable here. They are also encouraging and popularising new building materials to develop modern building architecture.

2.3 Collection of data (Interview Questions).

Considering the business of the construction industry it is necessary for them to maintain a balance in the construction work with the environmental aspects. In order to understand the concept of their construction work, this research is conducted. This research work is based on the data that is obtained from the interviews of the four managers of the company Ashlar Construction (NW) Limited to get the idea of the impact of building high rises over the environment and seismic capacity (acnw.uk.com, 2017). The main agenda of the report is to understand the significance and the impact of the constructions on causing a probable earthquake (Salunkh and Kuwar, 2017, p.3). In order to get the required data through a primary qualitative data collection, the four managers of the aforesaid company have been interviewed with a set of questionnaire.

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