Seismic Testing - Clark Testing - IBC 2015

IBC 2015



The International Building Code (IBC) is a set of building codes developed by the International Code Council (ICC) to promote public health and safety for design and construction of buildings. The IBC standards are commonly accepted in many countries including the Unites States.

The IBC-2015 contains seismic design requirements for both buildings and electrical equipment installed therein. The standard incorporates, by reference, the design requirements of The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures standard, referred to as SEI/ASCE 7.

Clark Testing provides IBC-2015 seismic certification for manufactures selling equipment and components for use in commercial building applications. Clark’s Seismic Laboratory operates a tri-axial shake table that is comprised of a 10 x 10 hexagon plate operating on an independent tri-axial hydraulic system.

In all versions of the code, critical equipment—including emergency power systems—must be certified to comply with the same seismic standards as the building in which they are located. In general, any critical needs facility must be certified to the seismic requirements of its location in accordance with the U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) data for ground accelerations.

The Seismic table at Clark Testing is capable of performing seismic testing on large packages up to 20,000 lbs. at 1g ZPA. The table can achieve 3g’s ZPA up to 10,000 lbs. & 5g’s for lower weight. The table has three (3) independent servo hydraulic actuators with 38,000 lbs. force +/- 5” stroke with peak acceleration of 15g – 18g.

There are five critical parameters are used to certify and establish the seismic rating level of equipment. These are typically listed in the certified equipment’s specification sheet so that specifying engineers can use the data to verify that the equipment is rated for a particular site.

SDS – IBC specifies a “design spectral response acceleration” factor, SDS, that represents the base, unmodified acceleration forces used to design the system for the specific installation site. Thus, SDS is a key parameter in designing a power system to resist seismic forces at a given site. SDS ranges from 0 to 2.46. Below an SDS of 0.167, seismic certification is not required.

Ip – The IBC incorporates an “importance” factor used to specify whether the power system is in a critical or noncritical application. A rating of 1.5 designates a critical system and 1.0 designates noncritical. The component importance factor, Ip, is determined to be 1.5 if any of the following conditions apply:

1. The component is required to function for life-safety purposes after an earthquake, including fire protection sprinkler systems.
2. The component contains hazardous materials.
3. The component is in or attached to an Occupancy Category IV structure, and it is needed for continued operation of the facility or its failure could impair the continued operation of the facility.

All other components shall be assigned a component importance factor with Ip equal to 1.0. ap – The “component amplification” factor ranges from 1.0 to 2.5 depending on the specific component in consideration. Values are defined in the IBC and are dependent on the components’ relative stiffness.

Rp – The “component response” factor ranges from 1.0 to 12.0, depending on the specific component in consideration. Values are defined in the IBC and are dependent on the components’ relative damping.

z/h – Since equipment mounted on an upper floor of a building will experience greater forces than equipment mounted at ground level, the location of a power system within a building must be taken into consideration. This factor is expressed as a ratio of the power system installation height in the building (z) to the height of the building (h). Its value ranges from 0 at ground level to 1 for rooftop installations.

In addition to IBC-2015 Seismic Certification, Clark’s laboratory also offers a full array of product validation and compliance testing including thermal aging and EMC/EMI testing.
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