Bearing pads are used widely in precast concrete parking garages. They function as buffers between the separate concrete members to prevent damage and facilitate movement (much like cartilage between bones at joints). Bearing pads should last for the design life of the structure, but need to be replaced when they are not sufficiently durable. The ‘surgery’ to replace the pads properly is a complex operation, with few published guidelines.
Resisting natural disasters and reducing environmental impacts are major challenges in the United States. During an average year, there are 10 tropical storms (six of which become hurricanes) and more than 1200 tornadoes touching down. In South Florida, Hurricane Andrew left a wake of destruction in 1992 that totaled more than $25 billion in property damage and resulted in 44 fatalities.