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BNCS: Full-Scale Structural and Nonstructural Building SystemPerformance during Earthquakes and Post-Earthquake Fire 


BNCS (Building with Nonstructural Components and Systems) was a landmark project involving the earthquake and post-earthquake fire testing of a five-story reinforced concrete building specimen built at full-scale and completely furnished with non-structural components and systems. This research project was accomplished using the NEES (Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation) – UCSD large high-performance outdoor shake table.


The building was outfitted with a variety of nonstructural components and systems, including a fully functional elevator, metal stair subsystem, complete exterior facade, interior partition walls, ceiling sub-system, piping, fire protection system, and HVAC unit with cooling tower, to name only a few. Various architectural occupancies including a home office, laboratory environment, computer server room, Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and surgery unit were designated at each level of the building.


This project provided unique opportunities to study the dynamic performance of a full-scale reinforced concrete building in a real-life situation under seismic excitations, to advance our understanding of the kinematic interaction of complex structural and nonstructural components and systems, and to contribute to the development of performance-based design methodologies for nonstructural components and systems. In addition, post-earthquake fire and safety performance of both the structure and NCSs were studied by conducting non-thermal and live fire testing.


As a core team member in the BNCS, I was closely involved in and contributed to all stages of this milestone test project, from the early conceptual design through the end of demolition. Aside from my primary responsibilities on this project, which were nonlinear response simulation and system identification, I devoted a significant amount of my time and intellectual energy to help resolve numerous problems, issues, and glitches during various stages of the project and advance the quality and excellence of this unique research work. 

For more details on this project and the complete list of funding agencies, academic collaborators, sponsers, and industerial partners, please visit the project website at

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