2021 Reinforced Concrete Column Blind Prediction Contest

Quasi-Static Cyclic Test of an RC Column: Blind Prediction Invitation


We invite you to participate in the prediction of the response of a reinforced concrete column subjected to lateral deformation. This invitation is based on an experimental test of a concrete column conducted in 2020, the results of which have not yet been published. The test column is representative of gravity columns common in concrete buildings designed prior to the 1990s. Tipping Structural Engineers and Maffei Structural Engineering designed the test column. The column was built and tested by Simpson Strong-Tie at the Tyrell Gilb Research Laboratory in Stockton, California.

In addition to providing your own prediction, please share this invitation with your colleagues and encourage them to participate. We designed the response form to be short, with the objective of minimizing the time required to participate. Participation requires predicting only a few quantities (strength, stiffness, deformation capacity, and behavior mode) for one cyclic-static test.

We envision that most entrants will use hand or spreadsheet calculations from approaches defined in building codes, guidelines, or published research, perhaps spending just a few hours to make their predictions. But any approach is allowed, and numerical modeling approaches are also welcome.

The invitation is open to anyone in the structural engineering field. We hope to get as wide a response as possible among practitioners, researchers, and students, here in the US and around the globe.

Anonymous results of this survey will be shared with participants. The responses of each participant will be compared to the test results, and the participants from each category with the best prediction will be announced (with their permission) in the writeup of the results.


Concrete buildings with vulnerable columns are known to be especially at risk in earthquakes. Assessing column performance is essential for evaluating the risk posed by concrete buildings. This includes columns that are part of moment frames and “gravity” columns, i.e., those not designated as part of the building’s seismic-force-resisting system.

This survey aims to capture the state of practice in evaluating concrete columns, to indicate the range of approaches that engineers use, and the range of results that these approaches provide. In particular, the goal is to collect predictions and gain insight on approaches for assessing the strength, behavior mode, stiffness, and deformation capacity for this type of reinforced concrete column.

Hopefully the results of this survey will help lead to improvements in concrete building evaluation, with the goal of making our communities safer in earthquakes.

Important Dates:

  • Contest opens: July 21, 2021

  • Deadline for questions: August 19, 2021

  • Deadline for submissions extended to: October 13, 2021, 11:59PM (Pacific)

  • Winners Announced: November 23, 2021