The need for rapid and efficient construction schedules in mission-critical sectors such as data centers has created new opportunities for pultruded FRP structural materials. FrostEngineering & Consulting designed a two-story access platform and utility support structure in Santa Clara, California with a footprint of over 7,000 sq. ft. for rapid deployment within highly constrained site conditions that precluded the use of structural steel. To our knowledge, it is currently the largest (in terms of bulk weight) freestanding pultruded FRP structure in a region of high seismicity in the world.
The FRP braced frame was designed to transfer significant lateral seismic forces leading to sophisticated analysis of both FRP and bent plate steel connections, with design approaches requiring rational analysis due to the limitations of the current versions of the FRP design standards. Novel design considerations included the application of appropriate seismic design factors for FRP framing as well as determining and accommodating significant prying forces on FRP connectors due to the large lateral seismic design loads.