Smooth Air PanelDuct

Seismic Testing .

Proving product performance and giving peace-of-mind.

Smooth Air Products Ltd (SAPL) is a market leader in the supply of heating and ventilation systems for buildings. Knowing that seismic performance of building services is a concern for industry stakeholders, they decided to validate their product’s performance, taking them to the forefront of this trend.

In New Zealand, the standard (NZS4219) for assessing operational continuity has not kept pace with international best practice. SAPL wanted to test beyond NZ standards, matching international best practice. This was the best option because:

  • Testing proved performance and established their innovation reputation.
  • Testing to international levels proved they were suitable for other seismic regions.
  • Testing provided confidence for clients and peace of mind for Smooth-Air.


They called the Holmes Solutions team, and together developed a test programme that exceeded New Zealand’s regulatory requirements and matched international best practice.

Holmes Solutions offers technical leadership to a number of industries, encouraging the improvement of standards. In this instance, they did a thorough review of NZ seismic standards, as well as wider international best practice. The uncertainty around dynamic response of non-structural elements is worrying to engineers. Many agree that prescribed static testing or calculation doesn’t provide them with “reasonable grounds” for acceptance. To bridge the gap we proposed a dynamic test regime based around the ICC-ES AC156 standard (cited in the International Building Code) and this was confirmed with practicing engineers. This test regime, coupled with suitable post-test functionality checks, would verify that the provided specimens met the requirements for operational continuity.

The testing subjected Smooth Air’s PanelDuct system to code level broad spectrum vibrations while suspended on an inverted shake-table. The PanelDuct outperformed client expectations. Assessments indicated no structural damage, and Smooth Air successfully gained confidence in the seismic performance of the product.

Without physical testing, understanding performance in a seismic environment is challenging. By working with us Smooth Air got a better understanding of the PanelDucts dynamic behaviour. Smooth Air now has confidence that their innovative product will perform as expected when the next shake happens.

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