Will Your New Office Structure Be Earthquake Resistant?

Earthquakes are a fact of life around the world, and Australia has its fair share. Indeed, there are about 100 large quakes throughout the country each year, and some, like the magnitude 6.5 that struck in 1968, have certainly left some scars. Due to the threat of these significant events, the government insists that contractors build certain structures to withstand such an onslaught. If you plan to start new construction, you need to make sure that it is certified accordingly, so what do you need to know?


Government engineers specify whether a structure needs to comply with the National Construction Code according to its "level of importance." There are four levels. These range from a low risk of hazard (most stand-alone homes), to structures linked to hazardous facilities or those that are essential in an emergency, such as hospitals.

If you plan to create a structure like an office complex, then you will probably fall into category three, which covers structures designed to contain a lot of people. In this case, the walls and ceilings of the building must be able to cope with sizeable seismic loads should an earthquake strike.


Many factors will be involved in any evaluation, like the class of soil beneath the building, the location of the building and its design. Certifiers will also assess certain fixtures attached to the ceilings or the walls.

The rules also require that electrical or mechanical components have to be adequately secured and must remain in place in the event of an earthquake load. This test will include lighting fixtures or fire safety systems, as well as A/C ducts and cabling.

Many other components will need to be checked against a comprehensive list as well, including partitions, floor systems, ceilings, storage racks and walls. The designer will also have to consider any attachments on the outside of the building (like a veranda or a chimney).


While the designer, architect and principal contractor may be ultimately responsible for the structure, it will fall to a building certifier to sign off on everything. They will need to complete the individual certificates and identify all the covered components along the way.

Working with Experts

Make sure that you are always in compliance here and that you work with contractors who are entirely up to date with the latest rules. Furthermore, ensure that your building certifier is suitably qualified and can give your structure a clean bill of health before you occupy the building.

To learn more, contact a company that offers building certification services.