As one part of the 1994 update effort of the 1991 NEHRP provisions, the seismic design force formulas for nonstructural components as they exist in the 1991 provisions are critically assessed and some of their shortcomings are identified. Various levels of improvements to these formulas are then presented which, on the one hand, preserve the equivalent lateral force format for design applicability and, on the other, correct some of the deficiencies on the basis of analyses, experimental results and observation data from past earthquakes.

Based on different interpretations of the component seismic coefficients as well as different degrees of simplicity required in practical design, three recommendations are proposed. The first recommended revision is the most comprehensive in that both effects of nonstructural component anchorage detailing and its supporting structural characteristics are taken into account. The second recommendation is a structure-driven type of modification of the current provisions and is motivated by the possibility that nonstructural component information during a design process is not available. The third revision, however, mainly concentrates on the effect of nonstructural component characteristics on the design force although it partially implies structural effects in the process of determining the response modification coefficient. The maximum and minimum design forces in the three recommendations are compared with those produced by the 1991 NEHRP provisions, the 1991 UBC, and the 1985 Tri-Service codes. Case studies of a parapet, a storage rack and a general equipment attached to a reinforced concrete shear wall structure are provided to show the relative conservatism involved in different codes and the importance of the factors ignored in the current provisions.

Simple displacement equations are also developed in this report to provide deformation information needed in some cases of practical design.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research
National Science Foundation
New York State Science and Technology Foundation


National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research Grant Nos. NCEER-91-5221 and NCEER-923-201; National Science Foundation Grant No. BCS-80-25010; New York State Science and Technology Foundation Grant No. NEC-91029

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Report Number


Document Type

Technical Report

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 1993 State University of New York at Buffalo, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 1993