Napa Earthquake | 2000 | USA, Earthquake Engineering
Napa Earthquake | 2000 | USA

Nonstructural Components

Definition: Every part of the building and all of its contents with the exception of the structure. Partitions, suspended ceiling systems, parapets, mechanical and electrical equipment, pipes, etc. Why is it important to consider nonstructural components in seismic design?

  1. The proportion of nonstructural components to the total investments in building construction is based on usage of the building between 50% and 70% (see diagram below).
  2. Nonstructural damage can severely limit the functionality of critical facilities, such as hospitals, energy supply, etc.
  3. Damage to nonstructural components occurs with seismic intensities much lower than those required to produce structural damage.
  4. Nonstructural damage is costly and affects business recovery.
Investments in building construction (Miranda 2003)
Investments in building construction (Miranda 2003)


The following services are offered in the nonstructural components division:


Seismic assessment of nonstructural components with linear static and nonlinear dynamic calculations

  1. RUAUMOKO, "direct analysis method" (see figure below)
  2. SAP2000, "cascading method"
Modelling of nonstructural components and the structure in one model ("direct analysis method")
Modelling of nonstructural components and the structure in one model ("direct analysis method")

Development of seismic retrofit concepts

  1. Possible strategies and techniques
  2. Design of seismic retrofit measures

Design of nonstructural components:

  1. Anchoring of mechanical equipment, vibration isolation
  2. Steel storage racks
  3. Suspended ceiling systems
  4. Partitions: masonry walls, gypsum partition walls
  5. Pressurized fire suppression sprinkler piping systems
  6. State investigation of facade anchors

Assessment and design according to the following codes:

  1. USA; ASCE 7-10, FEMA 460
  2. Europe; EC 8
  3. Switzerland; SIA 261, SIA 269/8