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Exploring Vibration Standards: A Deep Dive into ISEE/USBM Guidelines for Structural Safety

2 min read
Aug 10, 2023 2:22:27 PM

While there isn't a universally recognized vibration threshold throughout the United States, one commonly referenced source is the United States Bureau of Mines Report of Investigations 8507 (USBM RI-8507), along with subsequent revisions and clarifications by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) and International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE). This blog aims to provide insight into the background and foundation behind these recommendations.

Insights from USBM RI-8507 Vibration Study

The United States Bureau of Mines performed extensive vibration analysis and compiled the findings in the Report of Investigation 8507 (RI-8507): Structure Response and Damage Produced by Ground Vibration From Surface Mine Blasting in 1989. This report studied 76 structures that experienced 219 production blasts and also reviewed data from previous studies. The resulting report established widely accepted thresholds that highlight the significance of frequency and amplitude in relation to potential vibration damage.

USBM RI 8507: Vibration Thresholds for Wood-Framed Residential Buildings and Similar Structures

The vibration thresholds in USBM RI 8507 are mainly designed for wood-framed residential buildings with one or two stories. It includes recommendations for similar structures with plaster or gypsum board finishes. The thresholds depend on the frequency of the vibrations, which were determined through extensive observations and measurements. Figure 1 shows these thresholds.

Figure 1. USBM RI-8507 and OSMRE vibration thresholds recommendations

Safe levels of blasting for residences from USBM RI 8507 Siskind et al. 1980a and the OSM surface coal mine regulations that differ slightly between frequencies of 10 and 40 Hz


These guidelines aim to minimize harm to the surface finishes of one and two-story wooden residential buildings which are typically the most sensitive parts. The study focused solely on these types of structures, excluding historic or fragile ones, as well as those that are bigger or sturdier. Furthermore, the recommendations do not encompass vibrations that last longer than a few seconds.

The vibration thresholds provided are based on recorded vibrations in the undisturbed ground near the building's foundation. For more information on where to place monitoring devices, refer to the ISEE Field Practice Guidelines for Blasting Seismographs.

Understanding Vibration Standards for Residential Structures: Strengths and Limits

This study excels in providing carefully researched limits for vibrations caused by blasts and short bursts such as many demolition techniques, specifically for typical homes in the US. It gives clear advice on how to use these limits and is a valuable resource for those wanting to learn more about measuring vibrations and their effects on buildings. But it's important to note its limitations too. The limits are only meant for certain types of houses and vibration sources. Using them for projects with longer or more frequent vibrations or different kinds of buildings could increase the project's risks.

Revolutionizing Vibration Monitoring: Omnidots' Honeycomb Web Platform and Accurate Threshold Implementation

Omnidots provides its Honeycomb web platform to help users easily implement these thresholds with a simple click. The thresholds applied match the desired frequency dependency of the users, reducing false alarms caused by high-frequency events, a common issue in less advanced monitoring systems.

For more information about Honeycomb and how it works, simply click the button below. If you have any questions, our friendly Customer Success team is here to help. Just reach out, and we'll be more than happy to assist you.

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