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  • 1.  Seismic Bracing Requirement for Vending Machines

    Posted 02-04-2020 09:50 PM
    Looking for a code citation for seismic design requirements for vending machines in ASCE 7.
    In Chapter 13, which is "Seismic Design Requirements for Nonstructural Components", would vending machines fall under the exemption from the requirements for furniture; be considered a storage cabinet; or be considered a "mechanical and electrical component".  Please cite chapter and verse for the basis of your thoughts if you can.
    Thanks for your input.

    John Johansen P.E., M.ASCE
    Manager of Engineering, Environmental & Planning
    Anchorage, AK

  • 2.  RE: Seismic Bracing Requirement for Vending Machines

    Posted 02-05-2020 08:38 AM
    Edited by Chad Morrison 02-05-2020 01:50 PM
    I would say that is falls under the category of an appliance similar to a refrigerator or range.  Also it can be considered the same as furniture.  The manufacturer of the vending machine should have proper placement and securing instructions.

    I am currently having issues with my refrigerator leaking during the auto defrost function (if anyone can help please send a private message).  I opened up the instruction manual and found that it needed to be set so that is pitched about 1/4" lower on the back side.  This does a few things, allows the defrosted water to flow back towards the drain, make the doors close by themselves, and prevent overturning onto people. My range came with a steel bracket to be fastened to the wall and clamped to the back foot of the unit.  This is also an overturning prevention, should a kid or a turkey land on the oven door.  Ikea and other furniture makers have been subject to recalls and lawsuits due to overturning hazards. 

    If the manufacturer of the vending machine has not provided installation instructions or guidance on securing it, I would call them and see what they say.  If they say the center of gravity is so low, overturning is not an issue that would be a good answer.  If they say they have never considered it, it would be prudent to add a piece of hardware to the top to secure it.  I would not go through the process of running a calculation or stamping it.  The biggest threat to overturning bookshelves in my house is a toddler, not an earthquake.  In the case of a vending machine, it might be a vandal.  It is hard to put a value on that sort of load.

    Chad Morrison P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI

  • 3.  RE: Seismic Bracing Requirement for Vending Machines

    Posted 02-05-2020 12:07 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 02-05-2020 12:07 PM
    ASCE 7-16 section 13.1.1 states "... components that are permanently attached to structures..."  need to be anchored depending on seismic design category.  I haven't seen many vending machines anchored to the structure.  Keep in mind that the code provisions are minimum requirements and it may be prudent to go above and beyond those minimums depending on your situation.  If the vending machine is a tipping hazard in a vital structure (Risk Category IV), then you may want to anchor it to prevent damage to surrounding components or people.

    Paul Blomberg P.E., M.ASCE
    Phoenix, AZ, United States

  • 4.  RE: Seismic Bracing Requirement for Vending Machines

    Posted 02-05-2020 12:47 PM
    ASCE 7 Chapter 13 ​section 13.1.1 begins by stating that it establishes criteria for components that are permanently attached to structures. Unless they are built in machines that are supported permanently by adding support elements and anchorages, then no part of Chapter 13 applies. Also, since vending machines aren't buildings, no other part of ASCE 7 would apply. The argument usually comes with trying to determine whether or not the component is permanent.

    There's a circular argument here because if you do simply add an attachment, you've possibly made it permanent and it falls under Chapter 13.

    Architectural components in Chapter 13 do include cabinets and library shelving for example. Table 13.5-1 is careful to state "permanent" repeatedly for both categories. It may obvious that if one is building a library that the shelving units will be attached with permanence. It's less obvious that an office building tenant has permanent book shelves even if they stay in the same room for years.

    A vending machine moved into a building by the vendor that can be taken away just as easily when the vending contract runs out, or moved to another space at the convenience of the tenant. ASCE 7 doesn't apply to any other type of non-permanent fixture that a building user might bring in for their use. I can't say whether or not any local building jurisdictions or any other codes might have requirements for seismic bracing of these types of building contents. If they do it would have to be through reference to some other standard or their own written codes. In that case they would need to tell you what those are.

    I think the issue is relegated to good practice and being proactive in the same way people connect free standing book shelves, cabinets and the like to walls at the top. There's not much doubt unsecured contents will slide around or tip over in a design EQ. If you do want to perform calculations for these types of restraints then ASCE 7 chapter 13 would be appropriate.

    Brett King P.E., M.ASCE
    Senior Structural Engineer
    GHD Inc.
    Lake Oswego OR

  • 5.  RE: Seismic Bracing Requirement for Vending Machines

    Posted 02-06-2020 08:52 AM
    This is a post-seismic egress issue. A upset vending machine may fall on someone or hinder egress. An Owner may opt to restrain the machine.

    Then you would follow ASCE 7-16, Cpt 13 to determine seismic forces and design the restraint.

    William Scott P.E., M.ASCE
    Scott Engineering
    Port Townsend WA