The new Creative Learning Centre at Ashbury College in Ottawa is almost complete, but the building presented an interesting earthquake design challenge. Ottawa sits in the Western Quebec Seismic Zone where earthquakes, mostly of small magnitude, are recorded every five days on average. The Creative Learning Centre is being built at the heart of Ashbury College surrounded by four older buildings, each of which could be expected to move differently under maximum seismic loading. Numerous heating, plumbing and sprinkler pipes travel from the older buildings to the new building. These pipes would have to remain functional to ensure life safety in the event of an earthquake – a large demand for rigid pipes made of materials such as cast iron and copper. The solution lies in the use of specialty V-shaped pipe connections with a flexible braided metal outer layer. These “seismic ‘V’ loops” are rare in Ottawa and more common in California where they are produced.
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