Civil and Structural engineering

Case Study

Blast analysis of pre-cast wall panels on the MSP office building

  • Dynamic response analysis of pre-cast concrete wall panels

  • Assessment of peak deformations under blast load

Western facade of the MSP Office Building

The Members of Scottish Parliament (MSP) building is situated to the West of the main Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh and contains offices for the Scottish members of parliament and their staff. The granite-clad building varies between four and six storeys in height, and has an in situ reinforced concrete portal frame supporting pre-cast concrete vault units which form the ceilings and support the floor finishes. Unusual windows, which contain both a window seat and a stepped shelving space, project out at different widths from the Western face of the building. The dynamic response of the distinctive pre-cast concrete backing panels for these window pods was examined in detail using LUSAS finite element analysis to assess the likely peak deformations under blast loading. These thin panels, which contain a large irregular opening, needed careful reinforcement detailing to achieve the required degree of blast resistance.


  • Reference to the use of LUSAS on this project:  Paper entitled "The Scottish Parliament, Holyrood building" was presented at the Institution of Structural Engineers on 16 March 2006 by David Lewis, Ove Arup & Partners, and published in The Structural Engineer, 7 March 2006.

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