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Monitoring of Ground-Borne Vibrations from Construction and Demolition

Ground-Borne Vibration can be a serious concern for any building or structure within or adjacent to a construction zone. These structures may be potentially impacted by vibrations emanating from construction activities such as demolition, compaction, excavation, blasting, pile-driving, and operating heavy earth-moving equipment. In extreme cases, the vibration can cause damage to adjacent buildings and create discomfort and annoyance for building occupants. This is a particular concern to heritage structures and vibration-sensitive facilities such as hospitals, research laboratories, MRIs, and laser eye technology centers. This article provides a brief review to Ontario Building Code, with respect to Regulation of Vibrations from Construction Activity.

Monitoring of Vibrations during Construction – City of Toronto

As part of the Ontario Building Code, Toronto is one of the first cities in North America that mandates Assessment of Construction-Related Vibrations to ensure that minimum building standards are met. This regulation aims to minimize adverse effects of ground-borne vibrations on adjacent buildings and structures within the “Zone of Vibration Influence”.

Construction activity shall not be carried on when the records show the measured vibration exceeds the Prohibited Construction Vibration Levels set out in Table below.

According to Toronto Municipal Code-Chapter 363-Building Construction and Demolition:

  • Frequency of Vibration – “The rate of oscillation that occurs in one second, measured in hertz where one hertz equals one cycle per second.”

  •  Vibration Peak Particle Velocity – “The maximum rate of change with respect to time of the particle displacement, measured on the ground, and velocity amplitudes are given in units of millimetres per second from zero to peak amplitude.”

Zone of Vibration Influence

To prevent unnecessary disputes between developers and residents, an assessment can be undertaken prior to construction activities to identify the area surrounding the site that may be subject to vibrations (Zone of Vibration Influence). This study will determine the number of existing structures that need to be surveyed by way of a pre-construction inspection for existing flaws such as foundation cracks, drywall cracks, etc. before construction begins and/or identify the number of houses, if any, that require vibration monitoring during construction.

There are various parameters that are involved in identifying the zone of influence which should be identified by a professional engineer. Examples include:

  • The precise location of the source of vibration
  • Soil conditions of the construction site and adjacent land
  • Whether the proposed construction will be above or below the water table

According to Toronto Municipal Code-Chapter 363-Building Construction and Demolition:

  • Zone of Influence – “The area of land within or adjacent to a construction site, including any buildings or structures, that potentially may be impacted by vibrations emanating from a construction activity where the peak particle velocity measured at the point of reception is equal to or greater than five mm/sec at any frequency or such greater area where specific site conditions are identified by the professional engineer.”

FPrimeC Generic Monitoring System

Vibration Monitoring provides a means to continuously measure ground vibration induced by construction equipment and encourages contractors to stay below the Prohibited Vibration Levels in order to mitigate the potential for damage. Informing the property owners around a construction site in the vicinity of construction activities would also be of value. Generally, demolition, excavation, and pile-driving are the three phases of construction that produce the most significant levels of vibration in off-site facilities within the Zone of Influence.

Pre- and post-construction inspections and real-time monitoring systems are required to avoid damage claims associated with construction induced ground-borne vibrations. FPrimeC Solutions Inc. offers the most innovative and cost-effective solutions to effectively support vibration monitoring in the vicinity of construction zones and undertake required engineering analysis within the required timeline. Our generic monitoring system allows to continuously measure ground-borne vibrations during residential, commercial, and institutional construction around your circumstances and provide notification if a threshold has been exceeded.

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5 thoughts on “Monitoring of Ground-Borne Vibrations from Construction and Demolition”

  1. What is the basis of the Prohibited Construction Vibration levels? If you are interested, we can discuss construction vibration problems.

  2. Is there any standard / code / literature / guidelines which gives the limiting values of permitted vibrations due to any kind of vibrations for various types of structures like residential, industrial, hospitals, bridges, and for types pf constructions like steel structures or RCC buildings.

    We typically get the inquiries, that client wants to know whether the vibration created by D G Set kept over a slab in a residential building or vibrations created by various machine on Industrial floors are safe or within limit or not, for the particular member or for the entire building

    Can you also suggest some good references of the literature on Vibration measurement & Analysis of Civil Structures

  3. The Structural health monitoring is very much needed. There are no proper publications on this. Thanks for your articles.

  4. It is beautiful article stating about monitoring of ground borne vibration from construction and demolition. I am really happy to come across this exceptionally well written content. Thanks for sharing and look for more in future! Great points!! I love this blog; please keep updated us with such information.

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