Date of Completion
Master of Science in Construction Engineering
Structural and Geotechnical Engineering
Flooding is the most frequently occurring natural disaster in the United States and worldwide (FEMA, 2004). Each year, when major flooding ravishes communities, residents are put in danger and often displaced from their homes and jobs for several weeks or months, if not more. The use of amphibious structures as a flood risk mitigation technique has currently only been implemented in individual or small-scale development. Information on the structural design of such buildings is limited and most of the current knowledge regarding amphibious structures is presented in architectural applications. The primary objective of this research is to develop a prescriptive approach to the structural design of a dual-foundation system for an amphibious structure which will float under flooded conditions. The research and example design problem presented herein provide a prescriptive criterion outlining how to simultaneously achieve a buoyant condition and structural stability, which restricts movement in the three degrees of rotation and the lateral movements in the surge and sway directions, while freeing the heave motion to the degree of rising and receding floodwaters. This prescriptive approach outlines the determination of site-specific flood risk; structural and architectural design considerations, use of applicable equations and calculations; and interpretation of the design results. The long-term goal of this prescriptive criteria is such that it can be replicated in any new construction project, regardless of building size or orientation. Additionally, a theoretical loss avoidance study was conducted and reinforced the notion that wide-scale implementation of amphibious structural design in regions with a high flood inundation risk would yield a high return on investment in the event of a major flood.