Chapter 23
SEISMIC SAFETY

Contents

Approved by Mike Wisherop
Revised 03/12

23.1 Policy
23.2 New Buildings and Other Structures, Including Programmatic Equipment

23.2.1 Physical Plant Facilities
23.2.2 Design Criteria for Programmatic Facilities

23.3 New and Existing Special Facilities

23.3.1 Critical Emergency Facilities
23.3.2 Enclosures and Systems Containing Radioactive and Other Hazardous Dispersible Materials

23.4 Existing Buildings and Other Structures

23.4.1 Rating of Buildings and Other Structures
23.4.2 Use Restrictions for Buildings and Other Structures with Seismic Ratings of Performance Level V (Formerly "Poor") and Performance Level VI (Formerly "Very Poor")
23.4.3 Posting of Seismic Information for Buildings and Other Structures

23.5 Process for Determining Use Restrictions for Buildings and Other Structures with Performance Level V (Formerly "Poor") and Performance Level VI (Formerly "Very Poor") Seismic Ratings
23.6 Programmatic Equipment and Structures
23.7 Non-structural Earthquake Safety Measures
23.8 Orders and Standards

NOTE:
. . . . . Denotes a new section.
. . . . . . . . Denotes the beginning of changed text within a section.
. . . . . . . . Denotes the end of changed text within a section.

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23.1 Policy

It is Laboratory policy to design and construct its physical plant and program facilities to prevent the loss of life and to minimize the risk of personal injury, program interruption, and property damage due to earthquakes.  It is the further policy that furnishings and equipment in buildings be secured in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.

23.2 New Buildings and Other Structures, Including Programmatic Equipment

All new Laboratory buildings and other structures, including program equipment and heavy shielding, will be designed and constructed to resist a magnitude-7+ earthquake on the Hayward Fault or a magnitude-8.3 earthquake on the San Andreas Fault without collapse.  The determination that the buildings and other structures will survive without collapse will be made by qualified structural engineers under the supervision of the Facilities Division Structural Engineer. Note that the occurrence of some structural and nonstructural damage is anticipated and is unavoidable in an area with the seismic risks that are present in Northern California.

23.2.1 Physical Plant Facilities

All buildings and other structures must be structurally designed and constructed in accordance with California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 24, Part 2, 2010 California Building Code (CBC or the Code) by—or under the supervision of—a structural engineer registered in the state of California.

All building projects must be designed on the basis of geological and geotechnical investigations used to establish foundation design values and to assess hazards from fault movement (e.g., landslides and ground motion). No building may be constructed over an active fault, and the proposed location of a building relative to an active fault must be reviewed and approved by the Facilities Division.

Calculations, drawings, and specifications for buildings must be submitted to the Facilities Division for review before construction, and each must be signed and stamped with the registered engineer’s seal.

In accordance with the University Seismic Safety Policy dated August 25, 2011, and Policy for Independent Review of Capital Projects dated June 29, 2007, all drawings and calculations for buildings must be formally peer-reviewed by an independent, structural engineer licensed in California.

23.2.2 Design Criteria for Programmatic Facilities

The following equipment and structures must be constructed and/or seismically secured in a manner that ensures life safety and is acceptable to the Facilities Division Structural Engineer:

  1. Any structure that personnel can enter, such as radiation hutches, shielding structures, or environmental test chambers
  2. Any structure that supports personnel, such as mezzanines and personnel platforms more than 4 feet high
  3. Any research equipment or nonstructural component that is permanently attached to the building structure.  

In addition to seismic considerations, the Structural Engineer’s review will also address California Building Code (CBC) issues and floor-loading concerns.

All programmatic facilities and equipment attached to the building structure are within the scope of the CBC and under the jurisdiction of the LBNL Building Official and the Facilities Division. All programmatic facilities and equipment that are not attached to the building are beyond the scope of the Code and shall be designed and constructed to ensure life safety in the event of an earthquake. The following design criteria shall be incorporated:

Nonductile Structures
Structures constructed of components or materials that fail in a brittle manner (i.e., no apparent plastic deformation takes place before fracture) and that do not exhibit ample reserve strain-energy capacity are considered nonductile structures. One example is a structure made of nonductile reinforced concrete blocks held together with ductile metal attachments that are not configured, or do not have enough mass, to safely absorb the seismic strain energy in the structure. For nonductile structures and bracing systems, the design must be based on the following:

23.3 New and Existing Special Facilities

The determination that special facilities meet the following criteria will be made by qualified structural engineers under the supervision of the Facilities Division Structural Engineer. 

23.3.1 Critical Emergency Facilities

Critical emergency facilities will be designed to remain functional during and after the design basis earthquakes specified above.

23.3.2 Enclosures and Systems Containing Radioactive and Other Hazardous Dispersible Materials

Enclosures and systems containing radioactive or other hazardous, dispersible materials (e.g., toxic, flammable, or infectious substances) will be designed and constructed to ensure confinement during and after the design earthquake specified above and to ensure that the acceptable risk, established during the AHD determination by the division, is not exceeded. These enclosures must be designed in accordance with Facilities Division RD 3.22 and inspected by EH&S before any use.

23.4 Existing Buildings and Other Structures

23.4.1 Rating of Buildings and Other Structures

All permanent DOE- and UC-owned Laboratory buildings have been reviewed by qualified structural engineers to determine their rating in accordance with the requirements of the UC Seismic Safety Policy. One of the following UC-mandated performance ratings has been assigned to each building:

A Performance Level III (formerly "Good") rating would apply to buildings and other structures whose performance during a major seismic disturbance "is anticipated to result in some structural and/or nonstructural damage and/or falling hazards" that would not significantly jeopardize life. Buildings and other structures with a Performance Level III rating would have a level of seismic resistance such that funds need not be spent to improve their seismic resistance to gain greater life safety, and would represent an acceptable level of earthquake safety.

A Performance Level IV (formerly "Fair") rating would apply to buildings and other structures whose performance during a major seismic disturbance is anticipated to result in structural and nonstructural damage and/or falling hazards that would represent low life hazards. Buildings and other structures with a Performance Level IV seismic performance rating would be given a low priority for expenditures to improve their seismic resistance and/or to reduce falling hazards so that the building could be reclassified as Performance Level III (formerly "Good").

A Performance Level V (formerly "Poor") rating would apply to buildings and other structures whose performance during a major seismic disturbance is anticipated to result in significant structural and nonstructural damage and/or falling hazards that would represent appreciable life hazards. Either such buildings or structures would be given a high priority for expenditures to improve their seismic resistance and/or to reduce falling hazards so that the building could be reclassified as Performance Level III (formerly "Good"), or would be considered for other abatement programs, such as reduction of occupancy.

A Performance Level VI (formerly "Very Poor") rating seismic performance rating would apply to buildings and other structures whose performance during a major seismic disturbance is anticipated to result in extensive structural and nonstructural damage, potential structural collapse, and/or falling hazards that would represent high life hazards. Such buildings or structures either would be given the highest priority for expenditures to improve their seismic resistance and/or to reduce falling hazards so that the building could be reclassified as Performance Level III (formerly "Good"), or would be considered for other abatement programs such as reduction of occupancy.

23.4.2 Use Restrictions for Buildings and Other Structures with Seismic Ratings of Performance Level V (Formerly "Poor") and Performance Level VI (Formerly "Very Poor")

The use of each building or other structure with a rating of Performance Level V (formerly “Poor”) or Performance Level VI (formerly “Very Poor”) will be reviewed by the Laboratory managers responsible for the building or structure for the purpose of determining what seismic risk-reduction strategy will be implemented. The determination will be based on recommendations from the Facilities Division Structural Engineer and from the EH&S Division Seismic Safety Subject Matter Expert. See Section 23.5.

23.4.3 Posting of Seismic Information for Buildings and Other Structures

The seismic rating of buildings and any use restrictions or limitations will be posted on the Laboratory’s Seismic Status Web Page.  The structural rating of buildings will be maintained by the Facilities Division Structural Engineer; and the use limitations and restrictions will be maintained by the EH&S Division Seismic Subject Matter Expert, based on the risk mitigation measures adopted by management as described in the next section. See http://fac.lbl.gov/Facilities/DandC/CivStr/

23.5 Process for Determining Use Restrictions for Buildings and Other Structures with Performance Level V (Formerly "Poor") and Performance Level VI (Formerly "Very Poor") Seismic Ratings

The Facilities Division Structural Engineer will advise Laboratory managers of the seismic rating of each building that has been evaluated, and will provide a summary of the issues that cause buildings to have a Performance Level V or VI rating.  Based on this information and on a review of the present use of the building with the occupying divisions’ safety coordinators, the EH&S Division Seismic Subject Matter Expert shall make seismic risk mitigation recommendations to the responsible division directors and the Laboratory’s Chief Operating Officer concerning appropriate risk-reduction measures for buildings that have a seismic rating of Performance Level V or VI.

These recommendations shall incorporate the following guidance:

For Performance Level VI-rated buildings, the following applies:

The use of buildings seismically rated Performance Level VI for unattended storage of material and equipment is permitted.

For buildings seismically rated Performance Level V, the following applies:

23.6 Programmatic Equipment and Structures

The following equipment and structures must be constructed and/or seismically secured in a manner that is acceptable to the Facilities Division Structural Engineer:

In addition to seismic considerations, the Structural Engineer’s review will also address Building Code issues and floor loading concerns. 

23.7 Non-structural Earthquake Safety Measures

Seismic anchoring of furnishings and equipment is required where it may prevent blocking of exit passages, and where items may topple and crush personnel in case of an earthquake.  Note that the seismic anchoring that is typically possible will provide protection in cases of minor earthquakes, but may fail during a design basis earthquake, depending on the direction of the ground motion. 

Where equipment is anchored, it must be bolted to structural elements, such as studs in walls, or secured to concrete with approved anchors.  Seismic anchoring may require Facilities Division Penetration permits, depending on the depth of the anchors and the location.  Contact the Facilities Division Work Request Center for seismic anchoring.  Facilities Division carpenters have been instructed on acceptable methods of anchoring typical furnishings.

Where the contents of shelves or cabinets may fall and pose hazards during an earthquake, they must be secured in the cabinet or shelf by doors or other restraining mechanisms such as 3/4-inch-tall lips at the front of shelves, or elastic cords on bookshelves.

The following items are required to be secured against toppling or emptying of contents:

23.8 Orders and Standards


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