A three-dimensional finite element computer analysis of multistorey building structures, made of pierced shear walls of open and/or closed cross-sections and flat plates, is presented. The computer program developed for this purpose provides a special and powerful mesh generation subroutine. A graphic program is also developed to prepare the data interactively by utilizing a screen graphic option. The structure model can be created. or modified very easily with the use of the present mesh generation program. The beams or columns can be added or cancelled with no difficulty at all. The plate finite element developed can represent the membrane as well as the bending behaviour of the shear wall and the floor components. The program developed is used to obtain solutions to some realistic structures to determine the bounds of the simplifying assumptions commonly made for the analysis of multistorey building structures. The program is also capable of performing analysis by using conventional simplified models of multistorey structures and of verifying the bounds set for the assumptions. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd and Civil-Comp Ltd. All rights reserved.