Two powerful simulated earthquakes did no damage to a full-size steel-framed building in tests conducted at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

The tests, conducted in June, were the first in the United States of a whole steel-framed building, according to Jeff Galland, director of engineering and operations, S2 Specialty Structures, for Allied Tube and Conduit, which participated in the test.

The seismic test, which took place in June 2007, shook the one-story building constructed of Allied’s Dynastructure system for 30 seconds, simulating a 7.3 magnitude earthquake. The building was 32 by 20 feet wide by 12 feet tall.

“Although it was expected that the simulation would be adverse to this type of structure, not only did it not fail, it didn’t exhibit any signs of faults, cracks or connection issues,” said Galland.

The first shake duplicated the ground motions of the notorious “Landers” earthquake that rocked California in 1992. The magnitude 7.3 earthquake was one of the most powerful documented earthquakes to occur in the contiguous 48 states in the last 40 years, and caused almost $100 million in damage.

A second test conducted increased the intensity of the shake by 1.5 times to represent the International Building Code’s Maximum Considered Earthquake. This shake was equivalent to a 2,500-year earthquake, and yielded the same results – no damages. The testing was conducted at UCSD’s Englekirk Structural Engineering Center, which is equipped with the world’s largest outdoor “shake table” for seismic testing.

When erecting the system for the test, the manufacturing and construction teams used the standard procedures to ensure that what was tested represented a typical Dynastructure product. Typically, such tests are conducted on individual components rather than complete structures. Allied Tube and Conduit is based in Harvey, Ill.