Continuing Education

Impact of Ground-Borne Vibrations Emanating from Construction Activities

September 2, 2021

1. Scope

Presently, there are no Canadian standards or guidelines to be consulted by professionals developing a vibration monitoring plan or assessing the possible impact of vibrations from construction activities near existing buildings. Therefore, Canadian professionals are forced to rely on international resources when dealing with claims of damage due to construction vibration. This technical note provides a review of the frequently cited references on evaluating ground vibration damage from the use of construction equipment. The note does not cover noise and airborne vibration damage due to vehicular traffic, explosions, or mining activities. The focus of the technical note is on assessing the potential damage to structures and as such, the impact of vibrations on humans, although recognized, is beyond its scope.

2. Objective

This technical note was developed to help the expert and non-expert reader alike gain a general, but comprehensive, understanding of the effects of vibration on structures and the vibration threshold that would indeed cause damage. The note also explains how humans respond differently to vibrations than the buildings they occupy. The reader is introduced to two main parameters in vibration damage analysis: the Peak Particle Velocity (PPV)1 and the Zone of Influence (ZOI). Investigators, building owners, property managers, risk assessors, insurance adjusters, and construction litigators will find this technical note to be a highly useful resource in understanding potential damage due to construction activities.

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