Seismic Bracing

“Reinforcement added to building elements such as furniture or laboratory equipment that increases the capability to remain upright, mounted, and/or in place during seismic activity”

WHY IS IT NECESSARY

“Unlike most other natural disaster events, earthquakes have no season and they can cause devastation any time of the year without warning”- disastersafety.org

During an earthquake, large items such as tall bookcases, refrigerators, file cabinets, gas cylinders, and monitors can fall. Toppled items can block exits, as well as cause injuries to occupants. Seismic bracing such as anchors, latches, display mounting brackets, fasteners, and straps can help keep furniture and valuable research equipment upright, which not only helps protect both the item and its contents, but can help prevent injuries.

Facilities Services recognizes that it is important to know what our customers value.  Our goal is to clearly communicate the process, define responsibilities & roles, with the hope of improving the customer experience. To streamline the approval process, we have partnered with Capital Programs, EH&S, and the State Fire Marshal to for specific types of seismic bracing projects. Please see the two most common approaches below:

process simpler

          longer seismic process

Equipment/Furniture meeting the requirements from the pre-engineered details can be installed by Facilities Services without a formal permit(Process 1): Other equipment/furniture not meeting the requirements from the pre-engineering details and/or within buildings not listed below can also be seismically braced, but must follow the approach illustrated below:

APPROVED BUILDINGS

Presently there are 11 approved buildings where equipment/furniture meeting the requirements from the pre-engineered details can be installed by Facilities Services without a formal permit. Please see the specific seismic floor/wall properties in the linked PDFs below:

  • Byers Hall (MB)
  • CVRB (MB)
  • Genentech Hall (MB)
  • Helen Diller (MB)
  • Rock Hall (MB)
  • Dental Center(PN)
  • Health Science East (PN)
  • Health Science West (PN)
  • IRM (PN)
  • Koret Vision (PN)
  • Medical Science (PN)
  • Other equipment/furniture not meeting the requirements from the pre-engineering details and/or within buildings not listed above can also be seismically braced, but must have a formal permit.

    COMPONENTS THAT REQUIRE BRACING

  • Floor or counter mounted items 100+ lb
  • Wall mounted or suspended items 20+ lb
  • Items containing hazardous material
  • Items with the potential to block exit routes or cause serious injury if they were to topple or slide
  • Items, or material within, critical to the university’s operations (as determined by users)
  • Items, or material within, of high value (as determined by users)
  • Furniture   (4+ Feet in Height or Height/Depth ratio is greater than 3:1)

  • *Exception: mobile equipment (moved from one location to another during ordinary use)  under 400 lbs with center of mass under 4 feet from adjacent floor, do not require seismic bracing, such as the mobile displays illustrated below:

    example mobile displays
    PRE-ENGINEERED DETAILS FOR EQUIPMENT / FURNITURE
    FIRE & LIFE SAFETY CHECKLIST

    The following items should not be affected by the scope of any non-structural seismic safety upgrades for a general permit. If any of these items will be affected by the scope of the project, then the scope should reflect each issue and will require fire marshal review approval prior to the start of an installation.

  • Does the intended work/upgrade include the removal of fireproofing from any structural components currently equipped with fireproofing/insulation?

    All specified work requires the contractor to restore fireproofing to the same condition as originally approved with the design of the building. Scope shall be reflected on construction documents.

  • Have fire rated partitions, barriers, walls, smoke barriers, or shafts been altered, modified, or penetrated? (This does not include hardware attachments that do not require the removal of the fire resistive plane.)

    (  )  Fire resistive plane of the wall shall be maintained or repaired in accordance with the rated assembly of the fire rated wall. Note shall be reflected on construction documents.
    (  )  Penetrations shall be sealed with an approved fill, void, or cavity material utilizing an approved through-penetration firestop system. Note shall be reflected on construction documents and include appropriate details.

  • Does the intended work or equipment affect, hinder, obstruct, or narrow the exit egress system including work or items exposed to the egress path?

    (  )  All work and equipment shall ensure that a clear 36 inch unobstructed path is maintained. 44 inch minimal width shall be maintained for all hallways, corridors, and stairs. Note shall be reflected on construction documents.
    (  )  All work and equipment shall ensure that the exit and exit access doors are able to maintain the full door swing as installed. Note shall be reflected on construction documents.
    (  )  All work and equipment shall consider UCSF’s Facilities Fall Prevention criteria in its installation. Note shall be reflected on construction documents.

  • Does the work or installation affect the normal fire sprinkler spray pattern by blocking, hindering, or being located within 18 inches of a fire sprinkler head?

    A modification to the fire alarm system will occur under this permit (or be conducted under a separate fire and life safety annual permit). Scope and note shall be reflected on construction documents.

  • Does the work or installation affect the normal access to or performance of the fire alarm system by blocking, obstructing, or covering fire alarm components?

    A modification to the fire alarm system will occur under this permit (or be conducted under a separate fire and life safety annual permit). Scope and note shall be reflected on construction documents.

  • CLICK HERE to see a PDF copy of the Annual Permit/Checklist.

    PRICING

    Equipment and furniture meeting the requirements from the pre-engineered details can be seismically braced by Facilities Services without a formal permit provided they are located within one of the 11 approved buildings.  Equipment and furniture not meeting the requirements from the pre-engineered details or located within non-approved buildings can also be seismically braced, but must have a formal permit. Seismic bracing costs vary, depending on the type of equipment, installation conditions, and whether a permit will need to be issued. Facilities Services can provide an estimate once a work order is submitted.

    Facilities Services will brace all unbraced -80 freezers for free under the Lab Services Initiative. Please see Lab Services Initiative Seismic Bracing Program for additional information.

    LAB SERVICES INITIATIVE SEISMIC BRACING PROGRAM

    The goal of the Lab Services Initiative Seismic Bracing Program is to provide free bracing for standard, unbraced lab equipment such as freezers, refrigerators, gas cylinders, incubators, flammable storage cabinets, biosafety cabinets, etc. During Phase One, Facilities Services braced approximately 200 pieces of lab equipment at no charge to the department. However, in an effort to scale up the bracing process, distribute resources more equitably, and relieve lab staff of the burden of seismic bracing requests, Facilities Services has implemented a revised seismic bracing plan which includes:

    • Strategically targeting all unbraced -80 freezers across campus, grouping them by building
    • Working in partnership with EH&S to resolve cited lab bracing deficiencies.

    In order to accomplish this initiative, Facilities Services is not accepting individual work orders for free seismic bracing. Rather, we will employ a targeted approach to seismically bracing UCSF’s inventory of nearly 1,200 -80 freezers.

    We realize that, under certain circumstances, labs may need to proceed with bracing equipment outside of these parameters. For this reason, we will accept customer-funded requests for seismically bracing lab equipment in such instances, employing the pre-engineered equipment and building details, as appropriate.  Please review the section on Frequently Asked Questions for further details.
    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    I have a piece of lab equipment that I would like to have braced. What is the process for submitting my request? Will my equipment be braced for free? 
    •Please submit a work order through the Customer Service Center either online or by phone at 415-476-2021.
    •Labs may submit individual seismic bracing requests for lab equipment. However, departments will be responsible for all bracing costs, including permit fees, as applicable.

    Is there a different process if I am requesting seismic bracing for a new piece of equipment?
    No. The process is the same for both new and existing lab equipment?

    What if I am requesting seismic bracing for a -80 freezer?
    Facilities Services will be proactively bracing new and existing -80 freezers across campus. Work will be aggregated and scheduled by building and Facilities Services will communicate with research lab staff during this process. Once we have completed the -80 freezers, we will assess the next type of lab equipment on which to focus.

    What is the cost for seismically bracing my lab equipment?
    Seismic bracing costs vary, depending on the type of equipment, installation conditions, and whether a permit will need to be issued. Facilities Services can provide an estimate once a work order is submitted.

    Key Considerations

    Does the equipment meet the requirements from the pre-engineered details?
    Yes. Great! Facilities Services will be able to assist you without a formal permit provided the equipment is located in one of the 11 approved buildings. Facilities will provide an estimate for the bracing work. There will be no additional permit fee.

    No. Facilities Services will be able to assist you with your work order. However, this will include a formal permit process and fee. Please allow additional time for your work order to be processed. Facilities will provide an estimate for the bracing work and permit as part of the overall project estimate.

    What if my equipment meets the requirements from the pre-engineered details, but is not located in one of the 11 approved buildings?
    Facilities Services may be able to utilize the pre-engineered details for the equipment; however, a Structural Engineer will need to be consulted to review bracing requirements in the context of the specific building. Please allow additional time for your work order to be processed. Facilities will provide an estimate for the bracing work and permit as part of the overall project estimate.

    What if my equipment is located in one of the approved buildings, but does not meet the requirements from the pre-engineered details?
    Facilities Services will be able to assist you with your work order. However, a Structural Engineer will need to be consulted to review bracing requirements. In addition, the work order will require a formal permit process.  Please allow additional time for your work order to be processed. Facilities will provide an estimate for the bracing work and permit as part of the overall project estimate.

    Should Labs Contact EH&S to Request Seismic Bracing for Lab Equipment? No. EH&S will notify Facilities Services of cited lab bracing deficiencies. Facilities Services will coordinate with both EH&S and the affected labs to schedule bracing work for completion.

    Does the Lab Services Initiative Seismic Bracing Program Include Equipment That is Currently Braced? No. The program covers unbraced equipment so as to assist labs with bringing this equipment into compliance.  If a lab chooses to relocate a piece of equipment, the lab is responsible for the cost of unbracing, relocating, and re-bracing the equipment. If the equipment meets the pre-engineered details and is located in one of the 11 approved buildings, the equipment may be braced without a formal permit.

    Will Facilities Services Brace Office Furniture for Free? Departments are responsible for covering the cost of bracing office furniture. Please see the Pricing section for information on when permit costs may be covered under the annual permit.

    What if Lab Staff Are Working Remotely During COVID-19? Must Lab Staff be On Site in Order for Seismic Bracing Requests to be Processed? No. Provided Facilities Services has the necessary information for your request, there is no need for lab staff to be on site when the work is being completed. However, please note that missing or incomplete information may delay requests.

    How Long Does it Take for Seismic Bracing Requests to be Processed? Facilities Services is currently processing a backlog of seismic bracing requests. Going forward, labs can expect a four-week turnaround on bracing requests. We are working hard to reduce this timeframe.

    Is There Someone I Can Contact If I Have Additional Questions? Yes, please submit your question by email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)