Pragmatic improvements to seismic resilience of non-structural elements
The recent Canterbury earthquake sequence and the more recent Seddon, Lake Grassmere and Castlepoint earthquakes have raised awareness of the vulnerability of non-structural elements of buildings (e.g. ceilings, cladding, building services equipment and piping, etc.). With architectural and building services components comprising up to 70% of a building’s value, significant damage to these elements resulted in some buildings being declared economic losses, even when the structure itself was not badly damaged. Impacts on business continuity due to the damage of non-structural elements have also been identified as a major issue in recent earthquakes in New Zealand, as well as worldwide. It appears a step change is required in the seismic performance of non-structural elements in New Zealand.
This paper explores whether the current approach being used in New Zealand for non-structural contractor designed elements is appropriate in meeting society’s expectations. It contrasts the approach that has historically been taken in New Zealand, with that followed overseas.
The paper goes on to explore a pragmatic “best bang for the buck” approach to upgrading non-structural elements in existing buildings. The approach is presented through illustrated examples of issues and solutions that have been adopted. It also discusses the challenges with trying to upgrade non-structural elements within existing operational buildings including for example, congestion issues and practicalities of access.
The paper concludes with ideas on possible ways to improve the seismic performance of non-structural elements within the New Zealand environment and regulatory regimen from both design and construction perspectives.
Kircher C (2003). “It makes Dollars and Sense to Improve Non-structural System Performance”. ATC-29-2.
Bachman RE (2004). “Plan for Non-structural Components, Performance-Based Seismic Design: Concepts and Implementation”. The ATC 58 Project, Proceedings of the International Workshop, Bled, Slovenia, 28 June – 1 July 2004, Pacific Engineering Research Centre, University of California, Berkeley, California.
Charleson A (2008). “Seismic Design for Architects: Outwitting the Quake: Architectural Press”.
CERC (2012). “Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission - Final Report”.
CUREE (2009). “Non-structural Earthquake Damage”. Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering. Adapted from the 2010 CUREE Calendar illustrated essays by Robert Reitherman.
NZS4219 (2009). “Seismic Performance of Engineering Systems in Buildings”. Standards New Zealand, Wellington.
AS/NZS2785 (2000). “Suspended Ceilings – Design and Installation”. Standards New Zealand, Wellington.
SSC (2000). “Living where the Earth Shakes”. A History of the California Seismic Safety Commission, California Senate Office of Research, Sacramento.
Holmes WT and Burkett L (2006). “Seismic Vulnerability of Hospitals Based on Historical Performance in California”. 8th National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, San Francisco, CA.
IBC (2012). “International Building Code”. International Code Council (ICC).
CBSC (2013). “California Building Standards Code”. California Code of Regulations, Title 24, California Building Standards Commission.
NCH433 (1996). “Earthquake Resistant Design of Buildings”. Instituto Nacional de Normalizacion - INN, Chile.
NZS1170.5 (2004). “Structural Design Actions, Part 5: Earthquake Actions”. Standards New Zealand, Wellington.
FEMA E-74 (2011). “Reducing the Risks of Nonstructural Earthquake Damage”. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, DC., USA.
EERI (2010). “Learning from Earthquakes: The Mw 8.8 Chile Earthquake”. EERI Special Earthquake Report.
EERI (2009). “Identification of Methods to Achieve Successful Implementation of Nonstructural and Equipment Seismic Restraints”. EERI Special Report.
Priestley MJN, Calvi GM and Kowalsky MJ (2007). “Displacement Based Seismic Design of Structures”. IUSS Press, Italy.
FEMA (2012). “Seismic Performance Assessment of Buildings, Volume 1: Methodology”. Federal Emergency Management Agency Washington, DC., USA.
Spencer M, Ferner H and Kam WY (2012). “Building Seismic Risk Assessment – Enhancing the IEP”. Proceedings of the SESOC NZ Conference, 2-3 November 2012.
NZS4541:2013. “Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems”. Standards New Zealand, Wellington.
NZS4104:1999. “Seismic Restraint of Building Contents”. Standards New Zealand, Wellington.
Copyright (c) 2016 Helen Ferner, Matthew Lander, Gavin Douglas, Andrew Baird, Martin Wemyss, Dave Hunter
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.