The two most advanced design guides on floor vibrations are SCI Publication 354 and CCIP-016 for steel-framed buildings and reinforced concrete buildings, respectively.

Both design guides permit engineers to predict the response of structures due to human-induced vibrations to enable comparisons to be made with acceptance criteria contained within standards such as ISO 10137.

Standards such as ISO 10137 define acceptable vibrations in terms of a root-mean-square acceleration value that ensures that there is a low probability of adverse comments from the occupants.

If adverse comment is made about the vibration response of a structure, the engineer may be placed in a difficult position owing to the fact that it could be caused from a design or installation error to the other extreme where the occupant complaining is unusually sensitive to vibration.

To obtain an insight into the problem or compare the response of the floor with the acceptance criteria used in their design the engineer may need to test, which typically involves engaging a specialist with the appropriate equipment and knowhow (guidance for commissioning tests is provided in Appendix C of SCI P354).

Unfortunately, testing may be prohibitively expensive; also, there is often the challenge of being able to access the structure for a reasonable amount of time to enable the specialist to set-up their equipment.

Expedition Engineering has provided a novel solution to this problem through the development of their Vibrate It app. The app utilizes the built-in accelerometers that are present in most smartphones to record vibrations and post-process the data to provide a clear and visual input.

As a result of this, many designers will have access to conduct simple vibration tests to evaluate the vibration response of their structures. To put it through its paces, the Vibrate It app has recently been used to evaluate the response of the staircase to the new home of the Institution of Structural Engineers in London .

For our members interested in this technology, with Android smartphones, the Vibrate It app can be freely downloaded from Google Play – see further details here.