Now that problems with force-based seismic design have been clearly identified, design is inclined toward displacement-based methods. One such widely used method is Direct-Displacement-Based Design (DDBD). Yet, one of the shortcomings of DDBD is considering higher-mode amplification of story shear, moments, and displacements using equations obtained from limited parametric studies of regular planar frames. In this paper, a different approach to account for higher-mode effects is proposed. This approach determines the lateral secant stiffness of the building frames that fulfill the allowable inter-story drift without exceeding the desired story displacements. Using the stiffness, an elastic response spectrum analysis is carried out to determine elastic higher-mode force effects. These force effects are then combined with DDBD-obtained first-mode force effects using the appropriate modal superposition method so that design can be performed. The proposed design procedure is verified using Nonlinear Time History Analysis (NTHA) of twelve planar frames in four categories accounting for mass and stiffness irregularity along the height. In general, the NTHA response outputs compared well with the allowable limits of the performance objective. Thus, it fulfills the aim of minimizing the use of NTHA for planar frame buildings, thereby saving computational resources and effort.
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