Capital cities are as much at risk from natural disasters as anywhere else which means the seismic requirement for Canberra is particularly important in a country where earthquakes can cause damage. Although they may occur only rarely, a big event can cause a lot of damage as well as injuries and deaths so it’s essential […]
Capital cities are as much at risk from natural disasters as anywhere else which means the seismic requirement for Canberra is particularly important in a country where earthquakes can cause damage. Although they may occur only rarely, a big event can cause a lot of damage as well as injuries and deaths so it’s essential positive action is taken to prevent this.
The problems mainly arise due to the collapse of buildings that aren’t sufficiently resistant to seismic activity. However, other elements of the building, such as HVAC units, electrical fixtures, ceilings and internal wall panels can also be dislodged by earthquake movement. These items can cause extensive damage to the interior of buildings and so underline the need for a stringent seismic requirement for non-structural Canberra building elements.
Australia is positioned on the Hikurangi tectonic plate boundary, which is where the Australian and Pacific plates meet and push against each other. Although this has not, so far, caused the severest levels of earthquakes, there has been some activity although thankfully not too frequent. The most recent significant event was in 1989, when the Newcastle earthquake resulted in thirteen deaths, over 150 injuries and thousands of buildings being damaged.
Even if buildings are not badly damaged when an earthquake strikes, they can be weakened. Any aftershocks or further seismic activity can then affect them further and cause real damage, either to the building’s structure or to its non-structural components.
Earthquake survivors have described non-structural components being dislodged by a building’s movement, causing damage, injury and even death. This has emphasised the importance of regulations governing seismic for non-structural Canberra building elements.
The initial emphasis was, quite understandably, on the resilience of the buildings themselves so that they don’t collapse due to an earthquake. Indeed, the main aim of Australian Standard AS1170.4 is for buildings to be able to absorb energy in order to prevent collapse and avoid loss of life. Since its introduction in 1993, any new builds are considered to have sufficient structural resistance to seismic loads.
The same couldn’t be said of non-structural elements, however, although the wider adoption of the standard in 2019 has meant that all non-structural components should now be designed and manufactured to incorporate seismic resistance. These components typically include all plumbing and electrical installations plus internal walls and ceilings.
The design procedure set out in the standard requires that the importance level of the structure together with probability and hazard factors as well as the earthquake design category are determined. The component then has to be designed in accordance with the standard and has to comply with the requirement. This applies to all buildings except individual dwellings although these have to be able to withstand storm conditions and so are expected to be resilient to seismic activity.
All building designers, constructors and contractors are required to comply with the standard and so have additional responsibilities. As a supplier of steel wall framing and suspended ceiling systems in Canberra that are classed as non-structural components, Nashco is determined to help these businesses by supplying components that are fully compliant, dependable, resilient and easy to fit.
All the components we supply are well made from the highest quality materials and are fully braced so that, when properly fitted to a stable support, they will be completely resistant to seismic activity and compliant with the standard. We also aim to make them no more expensive than normal components and just as easy to fit, so there’s no extra imposition on your business. By working together, we can make buildings more resilient, more seismic compliant in Canberra and much safer.
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