Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. L. Sebastian Bryson


Development in urban areas around the world has steadily increased in recent years. This rapid development has not been matched by the ever decreasing open space commonly associated with urban centers. Vertical construction, thus, lends itself a very useful solution to this problem. Deep excavation is often required for urban construction. Unfortunately, the ground movements associated with deep excavation can result in damage to adjacent buildings. Thus, it is critically important to accurately predict the damage potential of nearby deep excavations and designing adequate support systems.

A new design method is proposed, as an attempt, to address the problem. The method is semi-empirical and directly links excavation-induced distortions experienced by nearby buildings and the components of the excavation support system. Unlike, the traditional limit equilibrium approach, the method is driven by the distortions in adjacent buildings. It goes further to propose a preliminary cost chart to help designers during the design phase. The benefit is that initial cost is known real time and will help speed up making business decisions. A new design flowchart is proposed to guide the designer through a step-by-step procedure.

The method is validated using 2D Plaxis (the finite element program) simulation. Though the nature of deep excavation is three-dimensional, a plane strain condition is valid when the length of the excavation is long. Hence, two-dimensional finite element simulation was considered appropriate for this effort. Five hypothetical cases were compared and the model performed very well. The lack of available literature on this approach made verification difficult. It is hoped that future case histories will be used to ascertain the veracity of the deformation-based design method.