Seismic performance of engineering systems in buildings revised Standard published

Standards New Zealand recently published a revised Standard specifying Seismic performance of engineering systems in buildings, NZS 4219:2009, which supersedes NZS 4219:1983.

'After an extensive literature search, we believe this is still the only Standard worldwide that specifies seismic performance requirements for engineering systems and their components,' says Stuart Ng, Senior Manager Solutions, Standards New Zealand.

The Standard helps to ensure engineering systems in buildings are securely restrained for an earthquake, to prevent them collapsing on people or damaging property. It also aims to ensure essential engineering systems continue to function in critical buildings during and after an earthquake, (for example, that firefighting equipment will continue to function).

NZS 4219:2009 provides non-specific, prescribed design solutions for service engineers and specific design solutions for structural engineers.

'Although NZS 4219 is primarily intended for building services engineers and systems designers, the reality is that structural engineers will often be called upon to advise on seismic aspects of engineering systems in buildings,' says Roger Shelton, BRANZ Senior Structural Engineer. 'For structural engineers, the Standard provides a lot of simple short-cut solutions to everyday problems, and is consistent with the new loading Standard NZS 1170.5.'

NZS 4219:

  • provides requirements for restraining engineering systems in buildings to resist seismic actions
  • covers the design, construction, and installation of seismic restraints for engineering systems (such as boilers, ducting, chillers, cooling towers, cable trays, steam pipes, gas pipes, water pipes, lights, and the fasteners and bracing to hold these to the structure)
  • may be used for services in new or existing buildings, and for the purpose of retrofitting engineering systems into existing buildings
  • includes useful examples for calculating and selecting the appropriate anchors and bracing design for common engineering services.

David Smart, one of the NZS 4219 committee members, is an engineering consultant, and has also worked in local government. He believes one of the key challenges facing the committee was to revise the Standard in a way that enabled it to be practically useful to structural engineers, building services engineers, and those in the trades who are often the people who are tasked with installing equipment into buildings. 'We aimed, from day one, to make it an easy to use tool for all three groups – by structuring the Standard the way we have, we'll hopefully see the awareness of the need to improve and maintain seismic restraint improve over time.'

Once referenced by the Department of Building and Housing, NZS 4219:2009 is intended to provide a means of compliance with the New Zealand Building Code Clause B1 Structure, Clause G10 Piped services, and Clause G14 Industrial liquid waste.

The committee that revised NZS 4219 included representatives from Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand, BRANZ Ltd, Business New Zealand, Department of Building and Housing, GNS Science, INGENIUM, Institute of Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning, Engineers of New Zealand, Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand, Local Government New Zealand, Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers New Zealand Inc., New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, and University of Canterbury.

Published in engineering.