134 Captain Springs Rd.
Onehunga Auckland
18 Newnham St.
Rangiora, Canterbury
+64 3 310 6322

Seismic Survey

Seismic Building Surveys

While seismic restraint engineering products and services are nothing new to the NZ earthquake (EQ) industry, the earthquakes in Canterbury and Christchurch have highlighted several systematic building design problems.

First and foremost, building and facility owners would be led astray if told that the earlier issues of mitigating nonstructural damage due to an EQ event have been solved by increasingly sophisticated engineering methods and building code regulations.

The data collected by the EQ industry contradicts this statement unequivocally. So where is the disconnect? Experience has shown that there are challenges in getting different engineering professions in allied construction fields to coordinate their design and construction efforts.


The mechanical engineer and HVAC subcontractor are responsible for the ducts; the architect and suspended ceiling subcontractor for the ceiling; the fire protection engineer and sprinkler subcontractor for the fire sprinkler piping.

The diagonal brace installed for a pipe may prevent the duct from being routed where it needs to be and obtaining its bracing. Vice versa, the duct that is installed before another component may prevent a logical location for that other component’s diagonal brace. It all comes down to poor coordination and oversight from initial design concept to implementation.

Quality assurance teams may identify code compliance issues

during field surveys, which inevitably equate to cost overruns due to poor planning, or, the design flaws go unnoticed until the first EQ event and piping, electrical conduits, HVAC systems, etc., causes loss of building (or system) functionality, not to mention risk of life and business interruption issues.

With regards to retrofit, i.e., after the fact requirements to meet MEP and seismic category F building code requirements, lessons learned analysis finds that many retrofit bid packages go out for solicitation and include general seismic details based on original construction documents which can often be a road map for disaster.

These inaccuracies lead to Change Orders due to field variances from the design drawings, similar to those aforementioned with new construction, causing project delays once construction begins in order to accommodate the changes. It is important for stakeholders to be mindful that seismic building codes change every few years, so drawings based on the original work may not meet current code requirements.

VAICO, partnered with ISAT, has a wealth of local experience across all property sectors, with a proven track record of assisting clients both independently and in conjunction with other VAICO services. Our team of highly experienced seismic engineers are capable of addressing both of the aforementioned examples – new construction and retrofit.

VAICO engineers entire focus is on providing solutions for restraint systems components for nonstructural seismic bracing. We
specialize in the healthcare, industrial and commercial construction markets, our entire focus is specific to providing code compliant solutions that are both cost effective and construction friendly. Our services and solutions are specific to MEP & F building utility systems with specific services and solutions for Architects

Our Team is available to augment architects and mechanical engineers with initial concept drawings & design to supporting field teams during the installation phase of nonstructural systems, while simultaneously providing on the spot recommendations for bracing designs due to last minute design changes reducing construction delays. Alternatively, VAICO & ISAT construction teams can act as a standalone seismic bracing engineer of record for the project.

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