University of Auckland Centre for Earthquake Engineering Research

Retrofit solutions for NZ's earthquake risk multi-storey buildings

A seismic retrofit provides existing structures with more resistance to earthquake impacts. It is essential that structures needing seismic retrofit are identified correctly, and a cost-effective retrofitting is conducted.

This research programme was a collaborative research programme between The University of Auckland and the University of Canterbury, considering seismic retrofit solutions appropriate to New Zealand's unique earthquake risk building stock.

The project was funded by New Zealand’s Foundation for Research Science & Technology, and had a six-year duration from the start in July 2004.

The absence of a recent major earthquake in New Zealand had led to a substantially reduced awareness of the seismic hazard amongst the general public and a comparative lack of attention by building owners to the need for seismic retrofitting of their structures. Furthermore, seismic assessment and retrofit is not currently taught in New Zealand’s structural engineering degree programmes and there is no useful national technical resource for structural designers wishing to execute seismic retrofits.

Consequently, the research sought to address these issues by creating a national database of knowledge and expertise associated with seismic retrofit or rehabilitation, in particular as it is applied to the nation's multi-storey buildings. It was achieved through two research objectives that defined retrofit solutions for building classes differentiated by their age and construction materials.

The knowledge created was embodied in a Seismic Retrofit Manual that partnered the NZSEE document titled "Assessment and Improvement of the Structural Performance of Buildings".

Seismic Retrofit Solutions website