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The 80-foot-tall structure also is equipped with a large water tower and an air conditioning and heating unit on its roof.The exterior of the building is complete with heavy precast concrete cladding as well as synthetic stucco, each commonly used in commercial construction.What happens when you put a fully equipped five-story building, which includes an intensive care unit, a surgery suite, piping and air conditioning, fire barriers and even a working elevator, through series of high-intensity earthquakes?Structural engineers at the University of California, San Diego are about to find out during a two-week series of tests conducted on the world's largest outdoor shake table at the Englekirk Structural Engineering Center.This is the first time that a building will undergo fire testing after being put through a series of simulated seismic events.Researchers from UC San Diego and the department of fire protection engineering at the Worchester Polytechnic Institute will first study the performance of active and passive fire protection systems, which will provide insight into damage caused by earthquakes.

The two-week series of experiments will feature a number of firsts: This is the first time in the United States that tests focus on a broad range of nonstructural systems and equipment that can malfunction during an earthquake, such as a working elevator, stairs and a broad array of medical equipment.The building's top two floors are outfitted with a surgery suite and intensive care unit, two components of the project supported by the California Seismic Safety Commission, which investigates earthquakes and recommends to the governor and state legislature policies that will reduce earthquake risks.Likewise, the fire-related data will help engineers model the fire performance of buildings damaged in earthquakes.The method is particularly useful for shorter, stiffer buildings rather than taller buildings such as high-rises.During the second week of testing, the base isolation bearings will be removed and the building's foundation will be anchored directly on the shake table.

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