Rondo has published a free white paper examining the role of the
architect and engineer in minimising the impact of earthquakes, and the technological
advances influencing seismic design.
The building industry in Australia and New Zealand is increasingly
seeking seismic design solutions, especially for commercial projects. The 2011
Christchurch earthquake, which killed 185 people and cost an estimated $40
billion in rebuilding, brought home the devastating reality of the damaging
consequences of a quake.
Though building codes have always specified design requirements for
seismic events, sufficient awareness and understanding of measures have been lacking
for the rules to be adequately implemented.
Recent events and changes to design standards now require new
construction projects to be more comprehensive in terms of their safety and
structural integrity to be suitably prepared for the rigours of geological
movement and other environmental hazards.
It is, therefore, important for architects to be aware of the statutory
requirements of incorporating effective seismic design into their building projects.
Earthquakes are unavoidable; what is avoidable is the potential extent
of damage that may occur during such an event. The architect and engineer are
responsible for minimising the potential damage of earthquakes by using the
latest advancements in research and technology to increase the capacity of buildings
to withstand movements.
The primary concern when it comes to structural design for earthquakes
is the lateral force-resisting system of the building. In most cases, this
involves roof and floor diaphragms for horizontal distribution, as well as
shear walls and rigid frames for vertical bracing. Failure of these elements
can impact the structural integrity of the building after ground motion, resulting
in major damage, including the possibility of total collapse. Correct planning and
design of these elements will go a long way in ensuring the effects are
The Rondo white paper titled ‘Seismic Shift: The
Focus on Seismic Design in Commercial Building Projects’ can be downloaded online.