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Seismic bracing limitations

 

Due to the unpredictable nature and ferocity of earthquakes, even the best quality seismic restraints can fail to prevent tall, heavy or narrow items from toppling. This is because: 

  • Effective restraint relies on the structural integrity of the wall or surface to which they are attached.  
    • Metal stud walls in modern office spaces are not designed to provide seismic bracing for heavy furnishings.
    • Bracing heavy furnishings to an internal metal stud wall can cause the wall to collapse under seismic loading.
    • This happed to a Government Department office in Wellington during the 2014 Seddon earthquakes after their handyman attached several cabinets to the wall.
    • Drilling into or bracing to concrete support columns is not recommended as it could compromise the building itself. 
  • Additionally, earthquake forces can cause the failure or collapse of the items being restrained. This is particularly true for heavily loaded book shelves. A five shelf book case holds approx. 150-180kgs of files.
  • Best results require sturdy furnishings such as metal cupboards to be bolted to the floor.
  • Smaller items can still be attached to internal walls with flexible restraints such QuakeFlex®.