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Received: 28 November 2017 Revised: 21 January 2018 Accepted: 4 March 2018

DOI: 10.1002/tal.1490


Structural health monitoring for a 600 m high skyscraper

Qiusheng Li1,2 | Yinghou He2,3 | Kang Zhou2 | Xuliang Han2 | Yuncheng He1 |

Zhenru Shu1

Department of Architecture and Civil
Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Summary
Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong Ping‐An Finance Center (PAFC), with a total height of 600 m, is the fourth tallest
Architecture and Civil Engineering Research
building in the world. An integrated structural health monitoring (SHM) system with
Centre, Shenzhen Research Institute, City
University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, China total number of 553 sensors, which was designed based on the modular design meth-
School of Civil Engineering and Mechanics, odology, is being installed in PAFC to monitor its structural performance and external
Huazhong University of Science and
Technology, Wuhan, China
excitations during both construction and service stages. This paper first gives a brief
Correspondence introduction of the architecture of the SHM system, followed by detailed descriptions
Qiusheng Li, Department of Architecture and on its 7 subsystems, including the components, functions, and interrelationship corre-
Civil Engineering, City University of Hong
Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, SAR, sponding to each subsystem. The modular design of the SHM system ensures highly
999077, Hong Kong. effective operation of the comprehensive monitoring system, and such an extensible
system allows the subsystems to be deployed and augmented easily to meet the

Funding information evolving monitoring needs. The second part of this paper introduces the research
National Natural Science Foundation of China, activities and selected results from the SHM system equipped in PAFC, including
Grant/Award Number: 51778554; the
Research Grants Council of Hong Kong monitoring of vertical deformations of various structural components, verification of
Special Administrative Region, China, Grant/ effectiveness of active tuned mass damper systems, and verification of numerous
Award Number: CityU 11256416
damage identification methods. Finally, representative monitoring results from the
SHM system in PAFC during a typhoon are presented and discussed. This paper aims
to provide useful information for the SHM, construction, and design of super‐tall


field measurement, modular design, structural control, structural health monitoring (SHM),
super‐tall buildings, typhoon

1 | I N T RO D U CT I O N

Structural health monitoring (SHM) systems have been extensively employed in civil structures, particularly in connection with bridges, which pro-
vide inherent information of structures under operation by means of field measurements to identify and estimate the change of main property
index caused by structural damages or material deterioration.[1] For example, various sensors were deployed on the 522‐m Foyle Bridge to mon-
itor the girders' vibration, deflection, and strain responses.[2] An integrated monitoring system was incorporated on the 12.9‐km Confederation
Bridge, aiming at monitoring the structural dynamic responses and deformations.[3] Besides, a monitoring system that consists of approximate
500 accelerometers, a mass of strain gauges, and a set of global position system (GPS) was installed on the Tsingma Bridge in Hong Kong to mon-
itor its serviceability and safety during its operation period.[4] On the other hand, SHM systems have also increasingly been adopted in high‐rise
structures to ensure their safety and serviceability. Brownjohn et al.[5,6] carried out a long‐term monitoring study with concentration on the
change of dynamic responses and structural dynamic properties of a 280 m high and 65‐story office tower. Li et al.[7–9] conducted full‐scale mea-
surements on a number of super‐tall buildings to identify their wind‐induced response characteristics under strong wind conditions. An integrated
real‐time SHM and structural identification system were implemented on Burj Khalifa to monitor and assess the structural performance of the

Struct Design Tall Spec Build. 2018;27:e1490. Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 1 of 22
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world's highest building.[10] It is noteworthy that the previous monitoring studies associated with high‐rise buildings were predominantly carried
out during their service stages, with emphasis placed on structural dynamic responses under wind actions or earthquake excitations. There
have been few investigations that employed SHM systems during both construction and service stages to provide comprehensive assessment
on the performance of high‐rise structures. For instance, a SHM system consisting of over 600 sensors was installed in a TV Transmission Tower
(Canton Tower) to provide real‐time monitoring for both in‐construction and in‐service stages.[11] Recently, a structural performance monitoring
system that consists of more than 400 sensors was implemented for the monitoring of Shanghai Tower during its construction and service
It is worth mentioning that unlike those SHM systems installed in bridges, similar works conducted on super‐tall buildings, in particular from
the onset of construction stage to service stage, are quite rare. Hence, in order to promote the development of SHM for skyscrapers, this paper
presents a detailed introduction of an advanced integrated SHM system installed in 600 m high Ping‐An Finance Center (PAFC), in which seven
subsystems and 553 sensors are incorporated to monitor its structural conditions during the construction stage and service stage of the
skyscraper. Moreover, preliminary results from the SHM system are analyzed and discussed in this paper. The objective of this paper is to
provide useful information for SHM, construction, and structural design of super‐tall buildings. The remainder of this paper is arranged as follows:
Section 2 presents the overview of PAFC. Section 3 describes the architecture of the SHM system installed in PAFC. The details of modular design
for the SHM system are provided in Section 4, together with comprehensive discussions on the functions of the seven subsystems. Section 5
introduces the benchmark problem studies associated with the SHM system. Some preliminary results from the SHM system are illustrated in
Section 6. Finally, the conclusions of this study are drawn in Section 7.


PAFC is a mega skyscraper that has a tube‐in‐tube type structural system. The external tube consists of eight steel‐reinforced concrete columns
connected by seven belt trusses, whereas the core‐tube is constituted by reinforced concrete shear walls. The total height of PAFC is about
600 m. The outer form of the building reveals a flat curve due to slight differences in the plan‐size of different levels (shown in Figure 1). The cross
section characterizes a rectangle shape with dimension decreasing gradually as its height increases. The dimension of the first floor is 56 m × 56 m,
and it shrinks to 46 m × 46 m at the 100th floor. The core‐tube, on the other hand, remains at 36 m × 36 m in size.


The SHM system for PAFC consists of 13 types of equipment, including 553 sensors and instruments (Table 1), which is capable to provide life‐
cycle monitoring on the structural performance during the construction and service stages of the skyscraper. The implementation of the SHM
ystem can be divided into two stages: in‐construction monitoring stage and in‐service monitoring stage. In the construction stage, a total number
of 503 monitoring sensors and instruments were installed successively in parallel with the construction progress, and the spatial arrangement of
these sensors is illustrated in Figure 2. After the primary structure was fully constructed, and the external glass curtain walls were installed, addi-
tional two types of instruments including accelerometers and wind pressure sensors were installed and fixed permanently onto the structure

FIGURE 1 Photos of Ping‐An Finance

Center: (left) construction completed; (right)
under construction
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TABLE 1 Number and type of sensors deployed for in‐construction and in‐service monitoring

Number of sensors
In‐construction In‐service
Sensor type Monitoring items monitoring monitoring Manufacturer Model

FBG strain sensor Strain 304 304 Ningbo Technology Ltd, China CB‐FBG‐GFRP‐W01
FBG temperature sensor Temperature 76 76 Ningbo Technology Ltd, China FBG‐T‐01
Optical fiber inclinometer Inclination 32 32 HBM FiberSensing, Germany FS6400
Total station Inclination, leveling, 1 1 Leica Geosystems, Georgia TS30
and elevation
Leveling instrument Whole settlement 1 1 Leica Geosystems, Georgia DNA03
Seismograph Earthquake induced motion 1 1 Earthquake Administration, China GDQJ‐II
Accelerometer Acceleration N/A 10 Jewell Instruments, New Hampshire LSMP‐2
Wind pressure sensor Wind induced pressure N/A 40 Setra Systems, Massachusetts Setra 268
GPS Displacement, inclination 2 2 Leica Geosystems, Georgia GMX902 GG
Weather station Temperature, humidity, 1 1 Guangdong Meteorological WP3103
rain, and air pressure Service, China
Anemometer Wind speed and direction 1 1 Gill Instruments, Hampshire, WindMaster PRO
United Kingdom
Reinforcement meter Reinforcement stress 54 54 GEOKON, New Hampshire, USA BGK‐FBG‐4911‐400
Soil pressure gauge Soil pressure 30 30 GEOKON, New Hampshire, USA BGK‐FBG‐4800
Total 503 553

Note. GPS = global position system; FBG = fiber Bragg grating; N/A = not available.

FIGURE 2 Deployment of sensors and substations for in‐construction monitoring. GPS = global position system; FBG = fiber Bragg grating
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(shown in Figure 3). Thus, an integrated SHM system for PAFC is being developed for the life‐cycle monitoring and assessment of the structural
health conditions. According to the types of the sensors and instruments and their locations in the building, five substations were established on
five different floors (shown in Figure 2) that enable the data acquisition to be implemented with the principle of proximity. All the signals collected
at the substations, including digital, analog, and optical signals, are unanimously transformed into digital signals and then transmitted to the mon-
itoring center for storage and further process. The architecture of the whole monitoring system are summarized in Figure 4.


The SHM system in PAFC is established based on the integration of multidisciplinary technologies, including the web of sensors, signal transmis-
sion and procession, calculation and analysis, software development, and structural condition assessment. This system is constructed in modular
format, consisting of seven subsystem modules: sensor measurement system, data acquisition and transmission system, data processing and esti-
mation system, data management system (DMS), support and protection system, structural health assessment system, and software control sys-
tem (see Figure 5). Such an extensible system allows the subsystems to be deployed and augmented easily to meet the evolving monitoring needs.
The interrelationship of the subsystems and their individual functions are described in the following sections.

4.1 | Sensor measurement system

This subsystem is designed to gain the information on structural status of PAFC using various types of sensors and equipment. The monitoring
contents of the sensor measurement system include air temperature, humidity, rain, air pressure, wind speed and direction, seismic ground motion,
temperatures of structural members, horizontal displacement atop the tower, inclination of the superstructure, settlement of foundation, vertical
deformation of the building and differential deformation of structural components, strain measurements at critical locations of key structural mem-
bers, structural dynamic properties including natural frequencies, mode shapes and damping ratios, and structural dynamic responses for service-
ability assessment.

FIGURE 3 Deployment of wind pressure sensor and accelerometer for in‐service monitoring
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FIGURE 4 Architecture of the structural health monitoring system. FBG = fiber Bragg grating

4.2 | Data acquisition and transmission system

The function of this subsystem mainly includes signal acquisition, signal demodulation, and data transmission. There are different types of acquired
signals (e.g., digital, analog, and optical) that are processed through the corresponding signal demodulation modules to convert to digital signals,
which are subsequently being transmitted to the monitoring center via the data transmission module. To ensure the synchronism of the monitored
data, measurements from different acquisition devices should be taken simultaneously.
The process of data transmission adopted in the SHM system uses a combined approach, consisting of both wired and wireless networks. It is
noteworthy that in the construction stage of PAFC, it was practically difficult to place the signal transmission cables at the construction site.
Therefore, a wireless transmission scheme was implemented alternatively to achieve real‐time and effective transmission of the measured data.
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FIGURE 5 Function relation of the subsystems. SMS = sensor measurement system; DATS = data acquisition and transmission system;
DPES = data processing and estimation system; DMS = data management system; SHAS = structural health assessment system; SPS = support
and protection system; SCS = software control system

Five substations were established on selected floors, and a monitoring center was set up at the construction site. The communication between
these substations and the monitoring center was achieved through wireless local area network (shown in Figure 6). By contrast, given the acces-
sible site condition for cable laying during the in‐service stage, a ring optical fiber network composed of MOXAEDS 308 industrial Ethernet
switches and multifiber cables is adopted for data transmission between the substations and the monitoring center (Figure 7). The employment
of wired data transmission cables enables the stable communication between the substations and the monitoring center and can minimize poten-
tial signal disturbance and blockage.

4.3 | Data processing and estimation system

The main function of this subsystem is to process the acquired data to serve for the subsequent use of the following subsystems. This module
consists of two parts, namely, preprocessing and postprocessing. Data preprocessing focuses on extraction of real‐time information. The original
data are calibrated at the first step to remove erroneous data. Afterwards, the targeted objectives, such as static stress and displacement, as well
as dynamic responses, are then determined based on the processed data with filtering or resampling techniques at the second step. Data
postprocessing concentrates on extraction of long‐term information, which makes off‐line analysis of the results derived from the preprocessing
to obtain key parameters and their long‐term trends by means of statistical analysis, feature extraction, and data mining. The flowchart of the
whole process is illustrated in Figure 8.

4.4 | Data management system

This subsystem is functionally used to store and manage data, which allows the operation of data modification, deletion, and so forth. All the mon-
itored structural information and analysis results are stored through DMS, and the data can be reused by other subsystems. The core of this sub-
system is the center database, which is established based on the Oracle platform. Given extremely large volume and complexity of the data
monitored from PAFC, DMS adopts the distributed database method, which can avoid the occurrence of data congestion in data storage. The
real‐time monitoring data are first being stored at the substations, other than being transmitted directly to the application server. The stored data
are subsequently being sent to the application server with a predetermined time interval. In this case, the effects of occasional breakdowns on the
overall performance of the system can be minimized, whereas the efficiency of data storage can be enhanced, and the response speed can be

4.5 | Support and protection system

This system aims to provide stable power supply for all the monitoring devices incorporated in the SHM system. Meanwhile, it also functions as
lightning and surge protection, which enables the stable and persistent operation of the monitoring system. The data acquisition station and mon-
itoring center are supplied with AC 220 V voltage, whereas the power for other types of sensors is supplied by using electric pressure converters.
Furthermore, to eliminate the possible failures due to different types of lightning attacks, such as direct lightning stroke, lightning surge invasion,
lightning electromagnetic pulse, and ground potential counterattack, support and protection system sets up a variety of lightning protection sys-
tems to provide targeted protection.
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FIGURE 6 Sensor integrated system in construction stage. GPS = global position system; FBG = fiber Bragg grating

4.6 | Structural health assessment system

Structural health assessment system is the primary component of the whole SHM system, containing three modules: structural damage identifi-
cation module, structural health state assessment module, and structural security alarm module.
The damage identification methods adopted in structural damage identification module can be classified into two categories: model‐ and
nonmodel‐based methods. The model‐based methods adopted in the SHM system for PAFC include signature analysis,[13–16] model updating,
and system identification approaches,[17,18] whereas the nonmodel‐based methods contain peak‐picking method,[19] stochastic subspace algo-
rithm,[20] wavelet method,[21,22] neural network method,[23] and genetic algorithm.[24]
Structural health state assessment module adopts the analytic hierarchy process, as well as the expert system, to provide a comprehensive
evaluation on the structural status of PAFC. Functionally, analytic hierarchy process is used to separate a decision problem into several layers,
such as index layer, criterion layer, and target layer. The weights between the corresponding factors existed in each layer are derived through
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FIGURE 7 Sensor integrated system in service stage. GPS = global position system; FBG = fiber Bragg grating

the multilevel fuzzy reasoning method, and eventually, the health status of the building is estimated by the evaluation score of the whole objec-
tive. The expert system is an online‐based evaluation approach that is widely used in the context of SHM. Data from field measurements are
uploaded to the network‐sharing platform, which allows peer experts worldwide to provide insightful comments regarding the safety
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FIGURE 8 Flow chart of data processing and estimation system

assessment of the structure. Finally, the assembled evaluation results are uploaded to the network‐sharing platform for further consideration
and reference.
Structural security alarm module mainly consists of the model‐based alarm function and the nonmodel‐based alarm function. The nonmodel‐
based function is generally established on the basis of statistical analysis of a large volume of monitoring data. The derived characteristic param-
eters are then compared with the threshold values given in standards or codes, to identify the occurrence of structural damage. The model‐based
alarm function is established based on finite element model (FEM). A preliminary FEM is modified by field measurements such as structural modal
parameters to construct structural baseline FEM. The reference parameters for safety alarm are therefore given according to structural baseline
FEM corresponding to various types of dangerous conditions.

4.7 | Software control system

This subsystem governs the operation of the above introduced subsystems and their interactive communications via the graphical programming
software LabVIEW. The “Oracle Database” serves as the center database, which is used for data storage, management, and so forth. The data
sharing is accomplished with Brower/Server mode. As a result, an internet/intranet based, open‐type, real‐time, smart SHM system is established.
The integration of the software systems in PAFC contains two main parts: the communication among subsystem software, and the communication
between subsystem software and database. Data acquisition and processing software are developed via LabVIEW, and the structural damage
identification software is achieved using Matlab; the model updating and structural analysis software are developed in the framework of Ansys.
In addition, the communication between LabVIEW and other software (e.g., Matlab and Ansys) is implemented through built‐in files or toolkits,
whereas the communication between LabVIEW and database is achieved by “Database Connectivity Tool kit”.

5 | B E N C H M A R K P R O B L E M S T U D I E S OF T H E S H M SY S T E M

It is of great significance to establish a SHM benchmark regarding a full‐scale structure with field measurements, which enables involved
researchers to testify their SHM techniques using the measured data from a full‐scale structure. Given this situation, a SHM benchmark platform
for super‐tall buildings is developed by taking PAFC as a test platform, in which a wide range of tasks are included and introduced below:

5.1 | Vertical deformation of super‐tall buildings

It has been well recognized that reinforced concrete buildings are subject to vertical deformations (axial shortenings), including elastic deforma-
tions caused by short‐term service loads and inelastic deformations due to concrete rheology (creep and shrinkage). Moreover, the differential
axial shortenings between gravity load‐bearing elements in structural systems with different stiffness could also result in adverse effects, such
as unacceptable cracking and unexpected distortions of floor plates, which not only cause the damages of facade and finishes but also lead to
difficulties in mechanical and plumbing installations and elevator operation.[25] Under such circumstance, a strategy named as “elevation
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reservation” was adopted at the design stage of PAFC, in which certain lengths for vertical structural components of the super‐tall building were
reserved from the beginning of the construction of each floor (Figure 9), which attempt to compensate for the axial shortenings of vertical load
bearing elements. The lengths of reserved elevations, as determined by numerical analysis at the design stage of PAFC, took into account of
the effects of shrinkage and creep of concrete, construction sequence and various loads on vertical structural members, and so forth. It was
expected that the length of reserved elevation for a vertical load bearing element equals to the corresponding accumulative vertical deformation
after the first service year. In other words, the floor elevations of PAFC could reach the designed heights at the time after the building is in‐service
for 1 year. The schematic diagram of the ith floor elevation reservation is shown in Figure 10.[26]
The construction monitoring system that is a part of the SHM system established in PAFC was deployed to monitor the structural perfor-
mance during the construction process of PAFC, and field measurements at various construction stages were used to validate numerical analysis
results. In particular, the surface‐type and embedded fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors were used to assess the vertical deformations of the
vertical structural members of PAFC. The effectiveness of the elevation reservation strategy can therefore be validated by means of a comparison
between the field measurements and numerical predictions of the axial shortenings of vertical load bearing components.

5.2 | Verification of effectiveness of vibration control system

The results from wind tunnel tests indicated that the wind‐induced accelerations of PAFC, especially in across‐wind direction, exceed the limits of
the occupancy comfort criteria stipulated in both Chinese and AIJ design codes. Hence, two active tuned mass damper (ATMD) systems consisting
of two TMDs were, respectively, installed at two diagonal corners on floor of 113 (Figure 11) to suppress the acceleration responses of the super‐
tall building. The ATMD systems have a weight of 1,000 tons (including mass blocks [TMDs] and supporting‐frame structures), the heaviest of its
kind ever built. An ATMD is actually a combination of a TMD and an active control actuator (including associated feedback sensors). Compared
with TMDs, ATMDs are more robust to tuning error with the appropriate use of feedback and can more effectively reduce structural response,
but with the need for application of active forces and substantial power requirement to operate. Obviously, it is necessary to examine the

FIGURE 9 Schematic diagram of reserved elevation

FIGURE 10 Schematic diagram of the ith and i‐1th floor elevation reservation. (wi + wi′) is the cumulative vertical deformation of the ith floors,
and (wi‐1 + wi‐1′) is the cumulative vertical deformation of the i‐1th floors
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FIGURE 11 Locations of the active tuned mass damper systems

effectiveness of the ATMD systems. Such information will also be very useful for promotion and development of active control techniques for
skyscrapers. The SHM system in PAFC can also be used to assess the effectiveness of the ATMD systems. Actually, 10 dual‐axis accelerometers
were deployed at 10 height levels of the skyscraper for long‐term vibration monitoring. In addition, two accelerometers were mounted on the
113rd floor, and another two were installed on the top sides of the two TMDs to measure the relative motions of the TMDs by the manufacturer
of the ATMD systems. The performance of the ATMD systems can be investigated by comparing the field measurements of structural dynamic
properties and wind‐induced vibrations obtained in two states of the ATMD systems (locked state and working state) under similar wind speed
and wind direction conditions.

5.3 | Cross‐validation of monitoring results

As shown in Table 1, a total number of 553 sensors and instruments are being installed on PAFC to provide comprehensive monitoring of struc-
tural dynamics properties, external excitations, and various structural static and dynamic responses. Although each type of these sensors/
instruments was designed with an individual basic function corresponding to the monitoring items introduced in Section 3 (e.g., FBG strain and
temperature sensors are used to monitor the strain and temperature of concrete/steel structural members, wind pressure sensors are used for
surface pressure measurements on curtain‐walls, and GPS is installed to observe the horizontal displacement of the superstructure at its top level),
the information measured by each type of these sensors can also be used to further evaluate the structural performance or conditions or param-
eters through differential techniques or methods and so forth. Consequently, target results associated with some monitoring items can be deter-
mined by outputs of more than one type of sensors/instruments. Thus, cross‐validation can be achieved based on the measurements from various
sensors/instruments. For example, during the passage of Typhoon Nida attacked Shenzhen on August 1 and 2, 2016, wind actions and structural
static and dynamic responses, including wind speed and direction, wind‐induced pressure on cladding, acceleration, displacement, and stain
responses, were measured by the SHM system installed on PAFC. The modal properties (natural frequencies, mode shapes, and damping ratios)
of the high‐rise structure are identified based on the measured acceleration responses. Meanwhile, time histories of displacement measured by
GPS can also be used for the estimation of the modal parameters. In addition, the records of structural strains responses are also adopted to iden-
tify the natural frequencies using the peak‐picking method and the random decrement technique.

5.4 | Verification of damage identification methods

Generally, an accurate FEM is the basis for structural damage identification. The initial FEM of PAFC was established based on the design infor-
mation, including design drawings, material parameters, load conditions, and other essential structural data. Subsequently, the model was updated
step by step on the basis of the field measurements such as structural modal parameters, which aimed to obtain the updated baseline models at
different construction stages. With the updated model of the completed superstructure of PAFC, the implementation of structural health and
condition assessment and the prediction of the structural performance at future service states can be carried out. For structural damage identi-
fication, dynamic‐characteristic‐based damage identification methods have been applied extensively. Numerous relevant methods and corre-
sponding algorithms have been proposed. For example, Salawu and Williams[27] identified the damage locations of a bridge with modal
assurance criteria and coordinate modal assurance criteria. Pandey and Biswas[28] conducted a study of damage identification for simply sup-
ported cantilever beam through the change rules of appropriate flexibility matrix difference. Their results showed that the flexibility matrix dif-
ference was an effective indicator, especially when the damage occurred in a high stress region. Particularly, there have been other novel
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damage identification methods that have been developed for high‐rise buildings, such as principal component analysis‐based neural network
technique.[29] Even though the aforementioned methods have shown certain advantages, the feasibility or applicability of these methods in prac-
tical applications, especially in connection with large‐scale structures such as PAFC, has rarely been examined. Therefore, it is a good opportunity
to use PAFC as a test platform to examine the effectiveness and limitations of several damage identification methods based on the monitoring
results and the updated FEM.

6 | R E P R E S E NT A T I V E R E S U L T S F RO M T H E S H M SY S T E M I N P A F C

To date, PAFC has structurally topped out, and some monitoring sensors and instruments have been installed in the building. In this section, struc-
tural static responses in relation to the vertical deformation of PAFC and its structural responses obtained during the passage of a typhoon will be
presented and discussed.

6.1 | Vertical deformations

In this section, based on the outputs of the SHM system installed in PAFC, a combined study of both on‐site measurements and numerical analysis
of the vertical deformations of the super‐tall building during its construction stage and service stage is carried out.

6.1.1 | Elevation reservation

To compensate for the vertical deformations of PAFC during its construction process, a strategy named as elevation reservation was utilized at the
design stage and implemented in the construction stage, which reserved different lengths for the vertical structural components of the super‐tall
building during its construction. The reserved elevation of each floor was expected to be equivalent to the corresponding accumulative vertical
deformation at the time of 1 year after the building is in‐service. In other words, the floor elevations would reach the designed heights after
the first service year of PAFC. The reservation elevation of each floor was determined by numerical analysis considering the time‐dependent
effects of shrinkage and creep of concrete, construction sequence and various loads on vertical structural members, and so forth. Figure 12 shows
the reserved elevations for the core‐tube and mega‐columns at each floor.[26]

6.1.2 | Comparison between numerical results and field measurements

In order to validate the numerical predictions at different construction stages, the numerical results are compared with the field measurements
including the vertical deformations of the mega‐columns and the core‐tube. According to the real construction sequence, FEMs at 25 consecutive
construction stages from the bottom to the top as shown in Figure 13 were established. Subsequently, Figures 14 and 15 illustrate a comparison
of the numerical results based on the FEMs with the field measurements with respect to the vertical deformations of the core‐tube and the mega‐
columns at different construction stages. It is evident that the two sets of the results were consistent, validating the established FEMs. Hence, the
validated numerical models at different construction stages are further used to investigate the time‐dependent effects on the vertical deforma-
tions of the super‐tall building.

6.1.3 | Effects of long‐term loading on the vertical deformations at service stage

During the service stage of a super‐tall building such as PAFC, long‐term effects of gravity loads can result in significant vertical deformations of
vertical load bearing elements. The elastic vertical deformation due to gravity instantaneously occurs when the load acts on the building during the

FIGURE 12 Reserved elevations for the core‐tube and mega columns

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FIGURE 13 Numerical models at different construction stages

FIGURE 14 Comparison of the vertical deformation of core‐tube. CS = construction stage

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FIGURE 15 Comparison of the vertical deformation of mega columns. CS = construction stage

service stage, whereas the vertical deformation caused by shrinkage and creep of concrete still takes effects. Figure 16 presents variations of time‐
varying vertical deformations of the 15th, 60th, and 105th floors of PAFC from the beginning of the construction stage to the 20th service year
(about 8,000 days). Noticeable differences can be found among different types of deformations. The elastic deformations caused by the gravity
load increments surged at the construction stage, whereas there were less shrinkage and creep‐induced deformations. After the completion of
the building (about 700 days), the elastic deformations have already been accomplished, whereas the shrinkage and creep‐induced deformations
are featured with a gentle increase at the service stage and eventually may exceed the elastic deformations.

6.2 | Structural responses during a typhoon

Up to now, PAFC has experienced several tropical cyclones or typhoons after completion of construction of the main structure. Among them, two
typhoons called Nida and Haima, attacked Shenzhen have brought significant changes in weather and caused strong influences on the structural
responses of PAFC. Especially, Typhoon Nida was one of few tropical cyclones that have attacked Shenzhen directly or made landfall there over
the last decade. So the following part of this paper will briefly introduce the typhoon‐generated wind characteristics in Shenzhen and the wind‐
induced dynamic responses of PAFC during Typhoon Nida.

6.2.1 | Wind characteristics during Typhoon Nida

Typhoon Nida made landfall in Shenzhen at 03:35 a.m. on August 2, 2016. During the period from 00:00 a.m. on August 1 to 05:00 a.m. on August
3, Typhoon Nida experienced a typical evolution process from intensification to degradation. Figure 17 shows the track of Nida during the period
when it was in 800‐km radius distance from Shenzhen. Field measurements from three meteorological stations equipped with anemometers and
vanes near PAFC were analyzed to demonstrate the evolution of wind characteristics during Typhoon Nida, as shown in Figure 18. The double
peak distribution of mean wind speed and sharp change of mean wind direction after the passage of typhoon eye revealed that Typhoon Nida's
inner core (i.e., eyewalls and eye) passed through the measurement sites near PAFC.

6.2.2 | Sensor arrangement

Some measurements and data‐driven results during the passage of Typhoon Nida will be illustrated in this paper based on monitoring data
from selected sensors of the SHM system in PAFC, including wind‐induced pressures on cladding, accelerations, and strains of the building.
Outputs of four wind pressure sensors installed at the middle part of each of four building sides at the 81st floor, two pairs of accelerometers
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FIGURE 16 Time‐dependent vertical deformations of mega‐columns and core‐tube at three typical floors

(two along north‐to‐south and two along west‐to‐east) located at the 81st floor, and eight sets of FBG strain sensors installed in the corners
of core‐tube and mega‐columns at the 90th floor will be analyzed and discussed in this paper. The locations of these sensors are shown in
Figure 19.

6.2.3 | Cladding pressures

Figure 20 depicts evolutions of wind‐induced pressures on building surfaces in form of boxplots for each 10‐min measurement segment. For each
boxplot, the central mark denotes the median, box edges correspond to the 25th and 75th percentiles, and the whiskers extend to the most
extreme data‐points considered to be not outliers. Given that wind flows at PAFC before and after the passage of the typhoon eye were
dominated, respectively, by north‐northwestern wind and south wind, it was observed that before the typhoon eye, the records at P‐4 (on the
windward) were positive, whereas those at P‐1 and P‐3 (on the leeward and side faces, respectively) were negative. After the passage of the
typhoon eye, the measurements at P‐4 (on the leeward side) turned to be negative and P‐1 (on the windward side) became positive, whereas
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FIGURE 17 Track of Typhoon Nida (site of

Ping‐An Finance Center is marked by a red

FIGURE 18 Variations of 10‐min mean wind speed (U) and direction (θ) at three sites (marked by G1130, G3726, and G3674) near Ping‐An
Finance Center

FIGURE 19 Layout of installed sensors. “A,” “P,” and “S,” respectively, denote accelerometer, wind pressure sensor, and fiber Bragg grating strain

those at P‐2 and P‐3 (on the side surfaces) were negative. The peak negative pressure that appeared on a side surface was −720 Pa, whereas the
peak positive pressure that occurred on the windward surface was 570 Pa. In addition, the boxplots revealed that the probability distribution of
negative pressures was featured by a heavy tail toward the peak value side.
LI ET AL. 17 of 22

FIGURE 20 Evolutions of cladding pressure in form of boxplot for each 10‐min segment

6.2.4 | Acceleration responses

Figure 21 shows time histories of the measured acceleration responses from the four accelerometers at the 81st floor. The varying magnitudes of
accelerations reflected the development process of Typhoon Nida. The measured maximum acceleration response during the typhoon approached
to 3 cm/s2 at the 81st floor. Figure 22 illustrates the diagrams of power spectral density generated using the outputs from the accelerometers
during the typhoon. It was observed that the modal components (peaks) of 0.282 and 0.708 Hz existed in the spectra from A‐1, A‐3, and A‐4,
whereas they were absent in the measurements from A‐2 that was laid near the central line of the building's cross section. Hence, the above
two components should be associated with the first and the second torsional modes.[30] Moreover, the other natural frequencies (approximate

FIGURE 21 Time histories of acceleration responses

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FIGURE 22 Power spectral density (PSD) of accelerations from four anemometers at 81st floor

0.12, 0.42, and 0.84 Hz) identified in Figure 22 correspond to the first, second, and third swaying modes, respectively. Figure 23 shows variations
of natural frequency (n0) and damping ratio (ξ) with response amplitude. For both the first swaying and torsional modes, it is found that the natural
frequencies decrease with the increase of the amplitude, whereas damping ratio curves remain almost constant in the lower amplitude range and
then rise in the higher amplitude region. Figure 24 shows the obtained mode shapes following power‐law distributions, in which μx1 and μy1 stand
for the normalized first swaying mode shapes along two orthogonal directions and μθ1 represents the first torsional mode. As shown in the figure,
the power exponents for μx1, μy1, and μθ1 are 1.20, 1.03, and 0.37, respectively.

FIGURE 23 Amplitude dependence of damping ratio (ξ) and natural frequency (n0)
LI ET AL. 19 of 22

FIGURE 24 Identified modal shapes of Ping‐An Finance Center

6.2.5 | Dependence of accelerations on wind speed

Figure 25 examines the dependence of standard deviation (σA) and peak acceleration response (PkA) on approach mean wind speed (U) at a mete-
orological station (G1130) with height of 100 m from the ground for the first swaying mode and the first torsional mode of acceleration responses
at the 81st floor during Typhoon Nida. As illustrated in the figure, the first swaying modal component increased faster with strengthened wind
speed than the first torsional mode. By fitting the correlations between the modal responses and the wind speed via a power law, it was found
that the power exponents for the first swaying and first torsional modes were about 1.5 and 0.9, respectively.

6.2.6 | Strain responses

Figure 26 plots time histories of instantaneous strain responses (blue line) and mean values (red line) of each 10‐min measurement segment from
the four selected strain gauges at the 90th floor during Typhoon Nida. As reflected in the figure, the mean strain responses tended to decrease
during the typhoon. It is speculated that the cooling effect of torrential precipitations during the passage of typhoon eyewalls led to a decrease
of air‐temperature that further resulted in the variation of the strain responses.[31]
To examine the wind‐induced strain responses, the evolution of standard deviation (σA) of the strains are plotted in Figure 27. It is interesting
to find that the variation of the strain deviations kept consistent with the variations of either the wind‐induced pressures on cladding (Figure 20)

FIGURE 25 Dependence of acceleration responses on mean wind speed

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FIGURE 26 Time histories of strain responses

FIGURE 27 Time histories of standard deviation of each 10‐min segment of strains

or the structural acceleration responses (Figure 21). Amplitudes of the strains, accelerations, and pressures almost reached to the first peak simul-
taneously, then backed to small magnitudes, followed by an increase to the second peak and finally decreased gradually. Such a good agreement
demonstrates the accuracy of the field measurements from different kinds of measurement devices.

7 | C O N CL U S I O N

The SHM system equipped in PAFC is of substantial practical significance for the application and promotion of SHM technologies in super‐tall
buildings. The integrated monitoring system for both in‐construction and in‐service monitoring allows the life‐cycle observation of the
LI ET AL. 21 of 22

structural states, from the beginning of construction to the whole service stage. The modular design of the SHM system ensures highly effec-
tive independence of each subsystem. Meanwhile, concurrent operations among the subsystems make the SHM system flexible in practice,
with ease to meet the evolving monitoring needs. Total number of 553 sensors being installed provides an all‐aspect monitoring of the struc-
tural static and dynamic responses as well as external excitations such as wind and earthquake actions. The comprehensive SHM system and
abundant field measurements make PAFC as a desirable full‐scale test benchmark platform for SHM of super‐tall buildings, in which a wide
range of tasks are included: monitoring of the vertical deformations of various load bearing structural components, verification of the effec-
tiveness of the ATMD systems, cross‐validation of monitoring results, and verification of numerous structural damage identification methods,
and so forth. Detailed discussions on the structural performance in relation to the vertical deformations of load bearing structural components
at different construction stages and the structural responses measured during the passage of Typhoon Nida demonstrated the achieved out-
puts based on the sophisticated SHM system. It was found that the implementation of the comprehensive monitoring system is a meaningful
exploration of the SHM technology in super‐tall buildings, and the proposed integrated SHM system and its successful application to PAFC
are expected to boost the development of SHM technology and provide useful information for the construction and design of future

The work described in this paper was supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China
(Project CityU 11256416) and a grant from National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project 51778554).

Qiusheng Li

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Qiusheng Li Chair Professor, Distinguished member, ASCE; his research interests are in the fields of structural health monitoring, wind tunnel
testing, and structural vibration control.

Yinghou He PhD candidate, his research interests are in the field of structural health monitoring.

Kang Zhou PhD candidate, his research interests are in the field of structural health monitoring.

Xuliang Han PhD candidate, his research interests are in the field of structural health monitoring.

Yuncheng He Associate Professor, his research interests are in the fields of structural health monitoring and structural vibration control.

Zhenru Shu PhD candidate, his research interests are in the field of structural health monitoring.

How to cite this article: Li Q, He Y, Zhou K, Han X, He Y, Shu Z. Structural health monitoring for a 600 m high skyscraper. Struct Design
Tall Spec Build. 2018;27:e1490.