AbstractIn urban and semiurban areas of Nepal, it is a common practice that the construction of reinforced-concrete (RC) framed buildings with infill masonry have open ground floor as commercial shutter and a parking lot while the upper floor contains infill masonry for residential purposes. A reduction in a story’s infill relative to the ones above increases inelastic deformation on the columns of that story and causes soft story collapse of the open floor. In the 2015 Gorkha earthquake, the number of human casualties in RC buildings and economic loss exposed the deficiencies associated with RC. Although numerous studies have recommended solutions to soft story problems, there is still a lack of practical implementation at the ground level. In this paper, the Applied element method (AEM) was used to analyze the efficiency and applicability of existing solutions to soft story problems in Nepal using and social survey using web questionnaire to understand the social aspects of the soft story problem. Results of this research showed that, although technically there are some retrofitting methods that could solve soft story problems, the large number of existing buildings with soft stories—compounded by low awareness, unstable economic conditions, lack of locally available raw materials, and resistance to closing businesses run in the open story design—render eradicating the problem socially incapable.

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