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AS 1170.4 ("AS1170")

AS 1170.4 ("AS1170")

Australian Standard AS 1170.4 – Structural Design Actions, Part 4: Earthquake actions in Australia providers designers of structures procedures for determining earthquake actions and detailing requirements for structures and components used in the design of structures.

The Victorian Building Authority state in an industry update issued November 2021 that parties involved in the design and construction of buildings have a responsibility to ensure compliance with the building regulations, and that builders are responsible for ensuring that the buildings they construct comply with the requirements of AS1170.4.

The Standard also requires that all non-structural elements have been properly considered for earthquake loads in their design and to manage complying installation on site.

The advise also states that non-structural components and their fastenings must be designed for horizontal and vertical earthquake forces in accordance with AS 1170.4 Clause 8;

  • Smoke control systems;
  • Emergency electrical systems;
  • Fire and smoke detection systems;
  • Fire suppression systems;
  • Life safety system components;
  • Boilers, furnaces, incinerators, water heaters and other equipment using combustible energy sources or high energy sources;
  • Communication systems;
  • Reciprocating or rotating equipment;
  • Utility and services interfaces;
  • Anchorage of lift machinery and controllers;
  • Lift and hoist components including structural frames;
  • Escalators;
  • Machinery;
  • Lighting fixtures;
  • Electrical panel boards and dimmers;
  • Conveyor systems;
  • Ducts and piping distribution systems.

Section 8 of the Standard covers the design of non-structural parts, components and fastening and the affect of horizontal and vertical earthquake forces.

The Standard provides three methods to assess the effect of earthquake forces on parts, components and fasteners using one of the methods set out in the Standard;

  • established principles of structural dynamics; or
  • a general method (Clause 8.2) using design accelleration; or
  • the forces determined by the simple method (formula) taking into consideration a range of factors.


In preparing this definition, we have drawn from various sources including Legislation, Codes, Standards and industry information, research and knowledge.  Like the english language, these definitions may subtly change from time to time. As such these definitions are provided solely on the basis that users will be responsible for making their own assessment of the definition and and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.