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Seismic Isolation Guidelines


The Need for a Guideline

The current New Zealand Building code does not provide adequate guidance for the design of isolated structures. This is overdue in the country which invented this high performing system. There is currently a high demand for guidance, and this is an opportunity for New Zealand to remain at the forefront of seismic engineering. There is a higher expectation of performance of isolated buildings from the market/client, therefore there is a need for consistency and efficiency. The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission Recommendations 66-69 support development and uptake of low damage technologies and MBIE has made a commitment to implement this.




The Objective of the Guideline

The objective is to produce a guideline for use by engineering practitioners which is likely to be cited by NZ Building Code in the future. The guideline will provide consistency and efficiency in the design and specification of these systems to meet defined performance levels consistent with New Zealand loading and materials standards.





  • The scope has been proposed and agreed
  • The Framework and a timeline has been produced
  • The sections and contents have been aligned and first draft skeletons of most sections have been produced
  • The funding proposal has been agreed with MBIE, EQC, NZCS, SESOC & NZSEE
  • An organisational and delivery structure in place with project ownership and management being provided by the Quake Centre



Key Issues

  • MCE/Resilience
  • Code Requirements/Performance+
  • Performance Ratings/Descriptions
  • Displacement Spectrum for long periods - Corner Period shift
  • Where/how to link to Standards…Sp, µ, Ø
    Safety at the isolation plane
  • Floor acceleration and parts spectra
  • Inspection and maintenance
  • Testing – Prototype/Production
  • Bearing variability




1. Intro/objectives

2. Systems and philosophy

3. Performance

4. Hazard

5. Standard Compliance

6. Analysis

7. Design

8. Detailing

9. Maintenance and Inspections

10. Specifications and procurement (including a sample performance specification)

11. ReferencesKey



Recent updates


Last updated: 24/09/15



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