Last edited 01 Jul 2016

Steel construction floor vibration

Steel constructionFloor vibration’ is a supplement produced by Steel for Life and the British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) distributed with NSC magazine in May 2016. It is available to download from

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It provides an introduction to floor vibrations, describing what they are, how they are assessed, how to ensure there isn’t a problem, and providing an overview of commonly-adopted acceptance criteria and techniques for calculating floor response. It also provides a new online design tool.

Most straightforward steel construction will meet the required vibration performance criteria without modification, but vibration-sensitive applications, such as operating theatres or laboratories may require stiffer solutions.

Long-span applications offer good dynamic performance, despite common preconceptions that steel composite floors are ‘livelier’ than concrete ones. This is because the stiffer beams and large mass of the floor plates reduce the magnitude of the vibration response.

The calculation of floor response is complex, because different dynamic modes contribute to the overall response. publication P354 Design of floors for vibration: A new approach (Revised edition) offers a simplified approach but recent work has shown that in some situations it can be conservative compared to finite element analysis.

The new design tool gives an immediate and accurate assessment of floor response for a wide range of structural arrangements. Together with the supplement they provide both the background and the practical implementation of a complicated and otherwise time-consuming assessment.