Founded in 1981 by Robert Lawson in Laguna Beach, CA. Robert received a number of State and Regional awards for innovative structural engineering techniques. In 2002, Tom Burke joined Robert Lawson and, in 2007 they formed Lawson-Burke Structural Engineers, LLC, creating a world-class Structural Engineering firm
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Water Cooler Talk
As an office building owner, tenant or employee, you may have questions
about the seismic safety of your building or work environment.This may have been the topic of a water
cooler conversation.You may have asked,
“Will my filling cabinet fall on me during an earthquake?"Predicting a building and its contents response
to an earthquake is nearly impossible.In
order to insure safety to building occupants, state building codes provide minimum
guidelines for equipment and furniture anchorage.
Tohoku Earthquake, Japan
ASCE 7 is the code that governs the seismic design of nonstructural components
and their anchorage.Specifically,
Chapter 13, Seismic Design Requirements for Nonstructural Component.As a minimum, the items listed in table
13.5-1 shall have positive anchorage to protect the life/safety of the building
occupants.These items include but are
not limited to walls, ceilings, cabinets, equipment and fire sprinkler piping.
Past earthquakes have shown that unanchored office file cabinets can
present a major life/safety hazard during an earthquake.File cabinets can topple over injuring people
and trapping occupants inside the building.The codes require that any permanent floor-supported storage cabinet,
library shelving, book stacks and book selves over 6ft tall, including contents
shall be properly anchored to prevent sliding and toppling during a seismic
event.Our recommendation is that any of
these items over waist high should be properly secured.
Some general FEMA guidelines for file cabinets are as follows;
1.Do not locate file cabinets where their failure
could block an exit door or exit corridor.
2.Anchor file cabinets to the floor and/or wall to
prevent toppling during a seismic event.
3.Provide strong drawer latches to prevent drawers
from sliding open.
4.Do not place objects on top of file cabinets
as they may be thrown off during a seismic event.
FEMA also provides anchorage details for cabinets up to 6 ft tall.See below.We recommend that you consult with your Structural Engineer to insure
proper anchorage, especially for cabinets taller than 6ft.
base-anchored lateral file cabinets