SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Digitexx Data Systems, Inc. has launched REFLEXX Smart System for Buildings, a new damage detection and performance evaluation reporting system that provides essential structural health data in less than 15 minutes. REFLEXX is a turnkey solution that combines real-time data with sophisticated structural algorithms based on generally accepted engineering methodologies such as FEMA-356, HAZUS-MH, ASCE-41 and ATC-58 to provide detailed, actionable damage probability report data.
Measuring the structural integrity of a building following a seismic event is a critical precursor to enabling a building to re-open or begin repairs in a timely and cost-effective manner. However, the traditional methods of visually inspecting a facility – particularly during a post-event – can be both time-consuming and inconclusive.
Following an earthquake event, building owners, facility managers and structural engineers are confronted with many uncertainties – Is all or part of the building safe? Is it necessary to evacuate occupants? Can building occupants be allowed back into the building? Are ancillary but critical operations functioning effectively to support occupancy?
While issues of safety and security are paramount in the short-term, longer-term impacts on productivity and profitability are also critical.
Dr. Farzad Naeim, Past President of Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, the current President of the L.A. Tall Buildings Council and the Director of Research of John A. Martin & Associates explains that the current process of assessing a building’s health following extreme events such as earthquakes can take days, if not weeks.
"Building owners and managers are required to wait in line for their buildings to be visually inspected and tagged by city officials, or evaluated by an engineer in order to assess the status of their building," said Dr. Naeim. "Even if you have an engineer in place before an extreme event happens, it may only reduce the wait time for a visual inspection and assessment from weeks to days. But many buildings need to make decisions within minutes."
When an event occurs and sensor thresholds are exceeded, REFLEXX generates detailed analyses and reporting for the structural engineer to understand key building response parameters, including: accelerations, displacements, velocities, interstory drift ratios and story forces and shears. The smart system provides instantaneous information critical to assist in the building’s diagnosis and recovery plan. Within 15 minutes of an event, REFLEXX will send a detailed report describing the structural health of the building at the global, floor-by-floor, and even component level.
REFLEXX also allows the building to access a report with damage cost estimations and repair time expectations for various components down to the server, ceiling tile and HVAC systems. This data allows the building owner to make plans for re-occupation and repairs in a timely manner.
Digitexx CEO and president Mark Sereci said the affects of an earthquake event on buildings and other large structures are often difficult to detect yet must be assessed as quickly as possible. "Immediately following an earthquake, the people who are typically the most vulnerable are those in highrise buildings and building complexes, from hospitals and university dorms to office buildings and manufacturing operations," said Sereci. "This situation places tremendous pressure on building owners and managers to make fast, accurate decisions. REFLEXX now gives them the tools to do that."