Equipped for earthquake load cases worldwide

Whether German, European or international regulations (DIN EN 1998, IBC, UBC, KTA, IEEE, IEC, etc.) – Our know-how covers earthquake standards worldwide

In order to be able to offer high quality earthquake engineering for our customers with projects all over the world, we intensively and continuously deal with earthquake standards worldwide. To name a few project examples:

  • Control cabinet in Chile (NCh2369)
  • Brewery boiler in California (ASCE 7)
  • Packaging facility in Australia (AS 1170)
  • Nuclear interim storage facility in Germany (KTA 2201)
  • Data center in Turkey (DBYBHY 2007)
  • Substation in the USA (IEEE 693)
  • Switch cabinet in China (IEEE 344)

However, we do not only apply them in numerous projects. In our seminars, we regularly communicate all new developments worth knowing about the most important regulations and contribute our specialized knowledge to standards and regulations committees.

All requirements met: On the safe and economical side with customized solutions

Our solutions for conventional as well as nuclear plant construction, which is characterized by higher requirements, are just as individual as your projects. Depending on your demands, we offer a complete package or support you with individual services:

  • Assessment of earthquake damage, incl. classification of damage patterns
  • Seismic re-evaluation of existing buildings, plants, machines or components by inspection, calculation or measurement
  • Elaboration of proposals for the retrofitting and upgrading of existing buildings, machinery and equipment

  • Preparation of auditable and quality-assured documentation of all work and results in accordance with national and international requirements
  • Preliminary review and quality assurance of third-party design documents for the operator
  • Support in technical discussions with contractors, assessors and authorities
  • Representation vis-à-vis inspectors and authorities

  • Earthquakes in plant engineering
  • Earthquakes and other special loads

Please contact me personally


I will be happy to advise you on questions relating to your earthquake engineering project.

Dr.-Ing. Marcus Ries

+49 931 49708-370

Earthquake resistant construction – Earthquake design of structural systems

Eartquakes don’t kill people, buildings do.

For this very reason, there are numerous concepts to make large and small structures earthquake resistant and to avoid failure of the supporting structure: From an adaptation of the floor plan to basic insulation to active or passive vibration mitigation using absorbers and dampers.

In this field we’d like to highlight the following services we offer:

  • Preparation and review of specifications on the subject of earthquakes
  • Design of structures made of reinforced concrete, steel and masonry for the load case earthquake according to European and international standards such as DIN EN 1998-1 and ASCE 7
  • Verification of the load-bearing capacity and serviceability of structures and components made of reinforced concrete, pre-stressed concrete, steel and masonry
  • Analyses by means of static and dynamic calculation methods as well as time history calculations
  • Design of earthquake protection systems such as seismic isolation, dampers or absorbers


Case Study "KARISMA Benchmark, Reactor Building" 506.16 KB
Case Study "KARISMA Benchmark, Reactor Building"

On 16 July 2007, a strong earthquake, the Niigataken-chuetsu-oki earthquake (NCOE) affected the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station, the biggest nuclear power plant in the world, located at about 16 km from the epicenter. The large amount of observations and data collected led to the organization of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Research Initiative for Seismic Margin Assessment (KARISMA). Woelfel Beratende Ingenieure (Woelfel), Hoechberg, Germany was active during all three phases of the KARISMA Benchmark, starting with the generation and verification of the Finite Element (FE) model of the reactor building in Phase I.

Case Study "Re-analysis of NPP buildings" 371.15 KB
Case Study "Re-analysis of NPP buildings"

For two NPP sites several buildings, analysed in the 1980s with stick models and simple spring-dampersoil models were re-analysed because of changed input parameters (new earthquake definitions, soil data, …) using 3D-FE-models combined with sophisticated soil-structure-interaction models (SASSI).

[Translate to English:] Case Study "Structural Assessment of a nuclear facility for operation and seismic loads" 303.26 KB
Case Study "Structural Assessment of a nuclear facility for operation and seismic loads"

For a facility in the ‘front end’ of the nuclear fuel cycle located in France the structural assessment of steelwork and pipework systems located on a seismic slab for operation and seismic loads including basic and detail design is performed.

Please contact me personally


I will be happy to advise you on questions relating to the standard-compliant seismic design of structural systems.

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Max Gündel

+49 931 49708-205

Standard-compliant earthquake qualification of plant parts and mechanical as well as electrical components

The German mechanical and plant engineering industry is the world champion of exports and sells its products worldwide, increasingly also in seismically active areas. Depending on the product and its classification, and on the (country-specific) regulations, at a minimum the stability of the anchorage of a component under seismic action must be verified. Further requirements may extend to integrity (leak tightness) and functionality (especially for electrical components) during and after the earthquake event.

We are your experienced partner for all questions regarding earthquake requirements as well as for the earthquake design of plant parts and components:

Which mechanical components (e.g., piping, tanks, coolers, LNG, hydrogen tanks/lines) must be considered as part of the earthquake design depends, in particular, on the overall protection goal for the machine or plant.

Depending on the requirements, the verification can be done by calculation (quasi-static equivalent method, response spectrum method, time history method), experimental methods (earthquake test) and/or alternative methods (similarity, plausibility). Internationally, the ASCE/SEI 7 set of rules is frequently used for mechanical components; for detailed verifications, there are additional component-specific sets of rules.

In this field we’d like to highlight the following services we offer:

  • Consulting for the determination of input data, the adaptation of designs as well as for the development of a verification concept
  • Consulting with regard to internationally recognized standards
  • Design of components for the load case earthquake
  • Support in the introduction of a uniform procedure for you and your suppliers
  • Support in clarifying customer questions on the subject of earthquakes and in representing you vis-à-vis authorities and TÜV testing bodies

The use of electrical components (e.g. switch cabinets, electric motors, generators, transformers, gas-insulated switchgear (GIS), gas-insulated piping, valves, pumps, ...) may be subject to compliance with country-specific earthquake requirements, both at home and abroad. If this is the case, the seismic safety of the respective components has to be verified according to the local regulations.

In this field we’d like to highlight the following services we offer:

  • Advice on the determination of earthquake input data
  • Verification by calculation (usually FE calculation: linear/non-linear, quasi-static/dynamic with time-history method or RSMA calculation)
  • Verification by vibration test (uni- or multi-axial, electric or hydraulic vibration table)
    • Test planning, test specification, test monitoring, test evaluation
  • If the boundary conditions allow it: Verification by plausibility/similarity considerations (lowest time and cost expenditure)
  • Advice on design optimization
  • Representation vis-à-vis inspectors and authorities
  • Creation of customized software for processing/analysis of (earthquake) signals: Time histories, response spectra

We consider project-specific requirements resulting from (inter)national conventional and nuclear regulations and earthquake specifications:

  • KTA 2201.4 – Design of NPPs against Seismic Events, Part 4: Plant Components
  • RCC-E – Design and Construction Rules for Electrical Equipment of Nuclear Islands
  • IEEE 344 – IEEE Standard for Seismic Qualification of Equipment for Nuclear Power Generating Stations
  • IEC 68-3-3 – Environmental testing – Seismic test methods for equipment, guidance document
  • IEC 980 – Recommended practices for seismic qualification of electrical equipment of the safety system for nuclear generating stations
  • IEEE 693 – IEEE Recommended Practice for Seismic Design of Substations
  • IEC 62271-207 High-voltage switchgear and controlgear – Part 207: Seismic qualification for gas-insulated switchgear assemblies for rated voltages above 52 kV
  • IEC 62271-210 High-voltage switchgear and controlgear – Part 210: Seismic qualification for metal enclosed and solid-insulation enclosed switchgear and controlgear assemblies for rated voltages above 1 kV and up to and including 52 kV
  • ASCE 7 – Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures
  • ICC-ES AC 156 – Acceptance Criteria for seismic certification by shake-table testing of non-structural components
  • DIN EN 1998 (EC 8) – Design of structures against earthquakes, part 1-6.

Please contact me personally


I will be happy to advise you on questions relating to the standard-compliant seismic design and qualification of mechanical and electrical components.

Dr.-Ing. Marcus Ries

+49 931 49708-370

Seismic Instrumentation – Permanent protection of your plant through earthquake monitoring

If an earthquake hits an industrial facility, a building, a power plant or other infrastructure, it can immediately and reliably be detected by installing seismic instrumentation. This opens up the possibility of initiating protective measures very quickly. If certain limit or design values (e.g. response spectrum) are exceeded, alarms are automatically triggered or entire plant sections are automatically shut down. This reduces or even prevents the occurrence of secondary damage such as explosion, fire and release of substances as well as their consequences. Our portfolio ranges from the so-called "seismic switch" for monitoring buildings or for shutting down machinery and equipment to certified systems, e.g. for monitoring power plants. We use equipment technology from the renowned Swiss manufacturer SYSCOM.

Together with SYSCOM, we can demonstrate the following core competencies:

  • Instrumentation of dams
  • Instrumentation of buildings and other structures
  • Instrumentation of facilities in the field of chemistry and storage of hazardous substances (LNG terminals)
  • Instrumentation of power plants

For more information, read our Case Studies!



We accompany the entire process with the following service portfolio:

  • Detailed conception of a seismic instrumentation including possibly required computational verifications and determination of possible measuring points
  • Delivery and installation of the seismic instrumentation, if required according to relevant regulations such as KTA 2201, IEC 61508 (SIL 2 and 3), IEC 60780, IEC 61226 (CAT A and C) or IEC 60880 (CAT A)
  • Concepts for exchanging existing (third-party) instrumentation
  • Support in the official approval process and in coordination with experts
  • Creation of any necessary certificates
  • Creation of preliminary test documents and complete project documentation
  • Implementation of the factory acceptance test with the participation of an expert
  • Installation, commissioning, training, service and system maintenance

Our installations all over Germany and the world (selection)

Please contact me personally


I am happy to advise you on seismic monitoring and seismic instrumentation.

Dieter Müller
Measurement and Monitoring

+49 931 49708-512