Non-structural systems include all of the elements that are not part of a building’s primary structure but are still required for the building to function. This includes mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP), suspended piping, ductwork (HVAC), and furniture, fixtures and fittings.
Unfortunately, even today, the seismic provisions of, for example NZS 4219:2009, are not always respected; this is due to either lack of knowledge, indifference, convenience, or negligence. Moreover, with the vast number of buildings constructed before the Building Act of 2004, and the many new construction projects, appropriate official controls and checks are lacking.
The fact of the matter is, stakeholders fail to realize a significant portion of loss incurred due to earthquakes, anything from minor tremors to the aftershocks can be attributed to failure of non-structural systems. So what does this mean for you financially?
Post earthquake damage assessments from around the world estimates that nearly 85 percent of overall costs to the building industry due to earthquakes are directly attributed to failure of adequate seismic bracing on nonstructural systems. This estimate does not include business interruption, loss of life or hospitalization, or impact on the environment.
Understanding NZS 4219:2009 is a matter of education. VAICO, partnered with ISAT, provides seismic code seminars predominately to construction professionals such as civil engineers and architects, but also to building owners. Our objective is to empower stakeholders with seismic code compliance in order to fully understand and appreciate that the impact of ensuring seismic bracing is commensurate with the EQ exposure on nonstructural systems.