Seismic isolation of light frame wood buildings in New Zealand (2020)
Type of ContentPosters
- Posters 
AuthorsFrancis, Tom, Sullivan, Timshow all
Seismic isolation is an effective technology for significantly reducing damage to buildings and building contents. However, its application to light-frame wood buildings has so far been unable to overcome cost and technical barriers such as susceptibility of light-weight buildings to movement under high-wind loading. The 1994 Northridge Earthquake (6.7 MW) in the United States, 1995 Kobe Earthquake (6.9 MW) in Japan and 2011 Christchurch Earthquake (6.7 Mw) all highlighted significant loss to light-frame wood buildings with over half of earthquake recovery costs allocated to their repair and reconstruction. This poster presents a value case to highlight the benefits of seismically isolated residential buildings compared to the standard fixed-base dwellings for the Wellington region. Loss data generated by insurance claim information from the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake has been used to determine vulnerability functions for the current light-frame wood building stock. By using a simplified single degree of freedom (SDOF) building model, methods for determining vulnerability functions for seismic isolated buildings are developed. Vulnerability functions are then applied directly in a loss assessment to determine the Expected Annual Loss. Vulnerability was shown to dramatically reduce for isolated buildings compared to an equivalent fixed-base building resulting in significant monetary savings, justifying the value case. A state-of-the-art timber modelling software, Timber3D, is then used to model a typical residential building with and without seismic isolation to assess the performance of a proposed seismic isolation system which addresses the technical and cost issues.