Non-structural systems – overview

This topic looks at non-structural systems in residential and commercial buildings and provides basic design and installation techniques to make these systems more seismically resilient in Aotearoa New Zealand buildings.

Home non-structural systems

Lightweight ceiling damage. (Rajesh Dhakal)

Performance of non-structural systems

Building Code compliance

Standards for engineering systems – including NZS 4219:2009 exclusions

Standards for suspended ceilings

Design of engineering systems

Design pathways for engineering systems – including specific design and non-specific design

Design criteria for engineering systems

Earthquake demand – including component categories, calculating earthquake load demand (earthquake zones, performance factor and risk factor), determining relative displacement and other design considerations

Restraining engineering systems

Anchors, fixings and fasteners – including screws and bolts, cast-in anchors and proprietary anchors

Braces and supports

Piping systems – including restraint requirements, horizontal pipes, vertical pipes and underground pipes


Electrical services – including cabling



Flexibility – including piping systems (piping across seismic gaps), ducting and electrical services

Special considerations for suspended ceilings

Design pathways for suspended ceilings – including non-specific design for suspended ceilings and specific design for suspended ceilings

Design criteria for suspended ceilings

Restraining suspended ceilings – including floating ceiling braces, perimeter-fixed ceiling braces, anchors, hanger cables, suspended components and lighting