PEER has just published Report No. 2020/16: "Cripple Wall Small-Component Test Program: Wet Specimens I," a report for the "Quantifying the Performance of Retrofit of Cripple Walls and Sill Anchorage in Single-Family Wood-Frame Buildings" Project. It was authored by Brandon Schiller and Tara Hutchinson, University of California San Diego; and Kelly Cobeen, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
This report is one of a series of reports documenting the methods and findings of a multi-year, multi-disciplinary project coordinated by the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER and funded by the California Earthquake Authority (CEA). The overall project is titled “Quantifying the Performance of Retrofit of Cripple Walls and Sill Anchorage in Single-Family Wood-Frame Buildings,” henceforth referred to as the “PEER–CEA Project.”
The overall objective of the PEER–CEA Project is to provide scientifically based information (e.g., testing, analysis, and resulting loss models) that measure and assess the effectiveness of seismic retrofit to reduce the risk of damage and associated losses (repair costs) of wood-frame houses with cripple wall and sill anchorage deficiencies as well as retrofitted conditions that address those deficiencies. Tasks that support and inform the loss-modeling effort are: (1) collecting and summarizing existing information and results of previous research on the performance of wood-frame houses; (2) identifying construction features to characterize alternative variants of wood-frame houses; (3) characterizing earthquake hazard and ground motions at representative sites in California; (4) developing cyclic loading protocols and conducting laboratory tests of cripple wall panels, wood-frame wall subassemblies, and sill anchorages to measure and document their response (strength and stiffness) under cyclic loading; and (5) the computer modeling, simulations, and the development of loss models as informed by a workshop with claims adjustors.
This report is a product of Working Group 4: Testing and focuses on the first phase of an experimental investigation to study the seismic performance of retrofitted and existing cripple walls with sill anchorage. Paralleled by a large-component test program conducted at the University of California [Cobeen et al. 2020], the present study involves the first of multiple phases of small-component tests conducted at the UC San Diego. Details representative of era-specific construction, specifically the most vulnerable pre-1960s construction, are of predominant focus in the present effort. Parameters examined are cripple wall height, finish materials, gravity load, boundary conditions, anchorage, and deterioration. This report addresses the first phase of testing, which consisted of six specimens. Phase 1 including quasi-static reversed cyclic lateral load testing of six 12-ft-long, 2-ft high cripple walls. All specimens in this phase were finished on their exterior with stucco over horizontal sheathing (referred to as a “wet” finish), a finish noted to be common of dwellings built in California before 1945. Parameters addressed in this first phase include: boundary conditions on the top, bottom, and corners of the walls, attachment of the sill to the foundation, and the retrofitted condition. Details of the test specimens, testing protocol, instrumentation; and measured as well as physical observations are summarized in this report. In addition, this report discusses the rationale and scope of subsequent small-component test phases. Companion reports present these test phases considering, amongst other variables, the impacts of dry finishes and cripple wall height (Phases 2–4). Results from these experiments are intended to provide an experimental basis to support numerical modeling used to develop loss models, which are intended to quantify the reduction of loss achieved by applying state-of-practice retrofit methods as identified in FEMA P-1100, Vulnerability-Base Seismic Assessment and Retrofit of One- and Two-Family Dwellings.