Non-structural components contribute significantly to the lateral stiffness of a cold-formed steel (CFS) building structure, but are cumbersome to model explicitly in the structural analysis. They are therefore commonly ignored in a 3D structural analysis, and their benefits are lost to the design. This paper proposes an efficient modelling method that enables practical and accurate 3D elastic analysis of a multi-storey CFS building structure to study its lateral behaviour within the serviceability limit state. Each shear or gravity wall is represented by an equivalent shear modulus four-node orthotropic shell element, which incorporates the lateral stiffness (or flexibility) contributions of all components including sheathing, braces and fasteners as present in the wall. The equivalent shear modulus is determined from the experimental test of a representative wall panel, or from the analysis of a finely detailed finite element model of the panel. The resulting two-storey building model, which has much fewer degrees of freedom compared to conventional models, is verified against full-scale shake table test results with respect to the natural period, the peak storey drift and the peak floor acceleration at two different construction phases. This paper demonstrates that the proposed modelling method not only saves analysis time considerably through the drastic reduction of degrees of freedom, but also compares favourably against a published modelling method in terms of accuracy and modelling efforts.
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