In simplified seismic structural analyses, not all the deterioration modes are adequately considered. This work discusses the relation among the hidden failure modes of columns of non-ductile reinforced concrete building frames and their global collapse mechanism. With this aim, a numerically efficient model is developed and implemented in OpenSEES. Two benchmark problems are analyzed with this model: the well-known Van Nuys Hotel and a prototype building designed for gravity loads only; in this last case, the results are compared with experiments on a one-third scale model. The obtained results confirm that simplified models grossly overestimate the building capacity.