Alistair Cattanach, a structural engineering consultant from Dunning Thornton-Beca, explains how important services such as electricity and water are protected during an earthquake. The new Wellington Hospital has been fitted with base isolators.
One of the main reasons for base isolating this hospital is to keep the accelerations from the earthquake in the super structure down. It means that we are not just protecting the structure we are protecting all the services, all the clinical equipment up there that needs to function for the people of Wellington after the earthquake. So not only does that - do all those surfaces have to be protected within the building but every connection between the ground and the building needs to be flexible, so ever time we have electricity, water, sewer, sprinkler pipe that the mains are in the ground, it comes up through a flexible length of pipe which allows that 600 ml movement of the building, so its like connecting a ship to the wharf, you know all these flexible connections between the ground and the building which can move with the earthquake. And doing that has a premium for base isolating a structure, and doing that well is part of the success of this design.
Capital Coast District Health Board