The importance of seismic design
In Australia, seismic activity poses a significant consideration for architectural, building and engineering professionals, as the country experiences an average of 100 earthquakes with a magnitude of 3 or higher each year. The wide-reaching tremors of the recent 4.6 magnitude earthquake in Melbourne are a reminder of this. These seismic events can have impacts on our built environment, leading to building damage or even collapse, depending on factors such as construction quality, earthquake magnitude and proximity.
Recognising the potential risks associated with seismic activity, the National Construction Code (NCC) of Australia mandates that all buildings and their parts/components undergo thorough assessments for seismic design requirements.
The NCC establishes the ‘Level of Importance’ (LOI) for different types of buildings, along with the corresponding seismic load requirements to be incorporated into their design. The LOI categorises buildings into four levels, based on the degree of hazard they pose to life and property in the event of failure.
For buildings falling under Importance Level 1, which present a low degree of hazard, compliance with seismic design requirements is relatively streamlined. Some residential buildings of this level are considered ‘deemed-to-comply’ under the NCC and do not require specific seismic design considerations.
Conversely, buildings classified as Importance Level 4, such as hospitals or those associated with hazardous facilities, play a vital role in post-disaster recovery and require a higher seismic load, or level of safety, to be integrated into their design. This ensures their ability to withstand and function effectively in the aftermath of a seismic event.
To address the complex challenges posed by seismic design, Knauf, through its TecASSIST engineering team, collaborates closely with design and engineering professionals. Together, we strive to develop project-specific and cost-effective seismic solutions for walls and ceilings.
Knauf partners with Rondo to offer specialised solutions explicitly engineered to resist seismic loads. Our seismic solutions are the result of extensive research, comprehensive in-house and third-party testing, and adherence to Australian and New Zealand Standards, including AS1170.4-2007. By leveraging the combined expertise, we ensure the compliance, resilience and safety of our built environment, effectively safeguarding people from hazards, minimising repair costs, and reducing potential damage.
In short, seismic design in Australia is a critical consideration for architectural and engineering professionals. Through collaboration, research, and adherence to industry standards, Knauf, along with our partner Rondo, provides innovative and reliable seismic solutions that meet the specific needs of each project, contributing to the safety and resilience of our built environment in the face of seismic activity.