Mar 25, 2014

OSHPD Current California Building Code Changes

Recent Change to Seismic Certification of Equipment used in Hospital Facilities

Overview of OSHPD Special Seismic Certification

Along with the obvious seismic concerns of a building’s structure, California’s Building Codes (CBC) and the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) also specifies the Special Seismic Certification (SSC) of mechanical and electrical equipment, systems and components used within or attached to a building during and after a seismic event.


Equipment used in hospitals is under the heaviest scrutiny due to essential facilities requirements that the equipment must remain operational following an earthquake. Equipment manufacturers must obtain seismic certification that the equipment will remain operational after a design level earthquake. A dynamic test, known as a shake test, must be performed followed by a report in accordance with OSHPD standards.

Since the 1998 California Building Code (CBC), mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment in hospitals has needed to conform to International Building Code (IBC) seismic specifications if the building in which they would be used had a Seismic Performance Category (SPC) of 3 or higher. Equipment installed in nonconforming buildings (SPC 1 or 2 rated) were exempt from equipment seismic testing and certification.

Change in 2013 California Building Code

With the implementation of the 2013 CBC, ALL equipment and components will need to be seismically certified REGARDLESS of the SPC classification of the building. If the equipment is listed in the table on Chapter 17 or 2013 CBC, (listed below), it needs to be seismically certified.

The list includes:

  • Emergency and standby power systems
  • Elevator equipment (excluding elevator cabs)
  • Components with hazardous contents
  • Exhaust and smoke control fans
  • Switchgear and switchboards
  • Motor control centers
  • Radiography and fluoroscopy systems in fluoroscopy rooms
  • CT systems
  • Air conditioning units
  • Air handling units
  • Chillers, evaporators and condensers
  • Cooling towers
  • Transformers
  • Electrical substations
  • UPS and batteries
  • Distribution panels
  • Control panels
  • Power isolation and correction systems
  • Motorized surgical lighting systems
  • Motorized operation table systems

A list of Equipment/components with OSHPD Special Seismic Certification Preapproval is on the OSHPD website: