The SPONSE Association is an international, nonprofit, technical society of engineers, architects, manufacturers, insurers, builders, planners, public officials, and social scientists, interested in the Seismic Performance Of Non-Structural Elements. SPONSE welcomes members from a wide range of backgrounds including research and teaching institutes, insurance groups, manufacturers of non-structural elements and individuals including engineers, architects, builders, practicing professionals, educators, government officials, and building code regulators.


The objective of the Seismic Performance Of Non-Structural Elements (SPONSE) Association is to contribute to the improvement of the resilience of communities to earthquakes by (1) Promoting research related to the seismic performance of non-structural elements, (2) Promoting education and training on subjects related to the seismic performance of non-structural elements, (3) Assisting with the dissemination of research findings and technological developments relevant to the seismic performance of non-structural elements, and (4) Facilitating collaboration between industry, academia, professionals and other parties interested in the seismic performance of non-structural elements.


The subject “Non-Structural Elements” is intended to include those elements within a building that do not form part of the primary load bearing system. It is common to distinguish between three different types of non-structural elements, as described below:

Architectural components

Architectural components are built-in nonstructural components that form part of the building. They include interior partition walls, parapets, chimneys, penthouses, suspended ceilings, appendages and ornamentation, signs and billboards, egress stairways that are independent of the building, cladding systems, window systems and lighting systems.

Mechanical and electrical components

Mechanical and electrical components are built-in nonstructural components that form part of the building. They include HVAC equipment, engines, turbines, pumps, compressors, pressure vessels, generators, batteries, motors, transformers, panel boards, switch gears, instrumentation cabinets, communication equipment, computers, cooling towers, piping systems, ductwork and electrical conduits.

Building contents

Building contents are nonstructural components belonging to tenants or occupants of the building. They include filing cabinets, bookshelves and all pieces of furniture found inside buildings.


The SPONSE Association currently has the following eight directors on its board:

Rajesh Dhakal, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Dr Rajesh Dhakal is a Professor of Structural and Earthquake Engineering at University of Canterbury, Fellow of Institution of Professional Engineers NZ (IPENZ) and a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) in NZ. His research interests lie in seismic design of RC structures, seismic risk/loss assessments and seismic performance of non-structural elements. Prof Dhakal has authored more than 250 technical papers in different aspects of structural and earthquake engineering; and has received more than a dozen awards including the prestigious EQC-NZSEE Ivan Skinner award for advancement of earthquake engineering research in NZ, and NZSEE Otto-Glogau award (2007 and 2011) for publishing outstanding technical papers in the field of earthquake engineering. Prof Dhakal is a member of the management committee of the NZ Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE), and currently serves as the Chief Editor of the Bulletin of the NZSEE.

Rodrigo Retamales, University of Chile, Chile.

Rodrigo Retamales is a Civil Engineer from the University of Chile. Rodrigo received his PhD degree at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2008. Rodrigo is currently lecturer at the University of Chile and the University of Los Andes in Santiago. Since 1999 he has developed more than 60 projects involving technologies such as seismic isolation and energy dissipation devices in South American countries such as Chile, Peru and Ecuador. Rodrigo was the president of the committee that updated the Chilean code for the seismic design of structures with base isolation, and also the president of the committee that developed the new code for seismic design of architectural and nonstructural components and systems. Currently, he serves as the secretary of the committee updating the Chilean code for the seismic design of buildings, which will include provisions for seismic performance based design of structures.

Gennaro Magliulo, University of Naples Federico II, Italy.

Gennaro Magliulo received from University of Naples, Italy, the degree in Civil Engineering in 1997 and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Structural Engineering in 2001. He is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Naples Federico II (Italy). His research studies focus on different topics of Earthquake Engineering, such as the performance of nonstructural components, precast RC structures, as well as reinforced concrete structures. Gennaro Magliulo led several research projects on nonstructural elements as scientific coordinator, funded both by public and private companies. Past research activities on this topic include: (a) experimental investigations of the seismic performance of ceiling systems and internal partitions; (b) numerical studies on the seismic demand on nonstructural elements; (c) definition of a numerical model for plasterboard internal partitions. He supervised three PhD thesis on the seismic performance of nonstructural elements and co-authored many papers on this topic. He co-invented four patents on devices for seismic applications; two of them deal with the definition of innovative nonstructural elements.

Junwu Dai, Institute of Engineering Mechanics, China Earthquake Administration, China.

Junwu Dai received his Ph.D. in structural engineering from the Institute of Engineering Mechanics, China Earthquake Administration in 2002. His research has been primarily in the areas of seismic isolation on building structurs and cultural relics, shaking table tests on engineering structures and industrial instruments & structures, post-earthquake damage investigation, analyses and test of building structures, performance based seismic analyses, and seismic assessment on existing buildings.  He is a member of Editorial Board of EERI and IAEE’s World Housing Encyclopedia, editor member of Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Vibration (Chinese Version), member in chief of the branch committee on structural test of Earthquake Reduction and Disaster Mitigation of China Architecture Society. He also serves as the group leader of the post-earthquake evaluation on direct loss of building structures in China Earthquake Administration.

Gilberto Mosqueda, University of California at San Diego, USA.

Giberto Mosqueda is an Associate Professor at the University of California at San Diego. He earned his Ph.D. in civil engineering from UC Berkeley in 2003 after a master’s at MIT and a bachelor’s from UC Irvine and he received an NSF Career award in 2008. Prof. Mosqueda’s primary research interests are in the experimental evaluation of large-scale structural and nonstructural components under seismic and other extreme loads. Current research projects focus on testing large-scale structural systems from the onset of damage through collapse using hybrid simulation and the development and verification of numerical tools to simulate structural response. Recent tests on earthquake simulators have examined limit states in seismically isolated buildings including pounding against moat walls and post-stability behavior of elastomeric bearings. New laboratory capabilities have also been developed for testing nonstructural components and medical equipment under more realistic loads including larger accelerations experienced in upper stories of buildings. The behavior of structures under multi-hazard loading is being examined, including the effectiveness of seismic design principles in mitigating collapse caused by blasts in steel buildings. Prof. Mosqueda served as the field investigation team leader for the MCEER Reconnaissance of the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina and also participated in national teams investigating damage to structures and nonstructural systems following the 2010 Maule, Chile Earthquake and the 2011 Tohoku, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

Shojiro Motoyui, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan.


Kery Ryan, University of Nevada,Reno, USA.


Timothy Sullivan, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Tim Sullivan is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. From 2009 to 2015 he was head of the Design Methods section at the EUCENTRE (European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering). Dr. Sullivan obtained a 1st Class Hon.s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and received his Masters and PhD in Earthquake Engineering from the ROSE School, University of Pavia, Italy. He has seven years professional consulting experience, having worked in New Zealand, Germany, the UK and Italy. Timothy Sullivan’s research and professional specialty is in seismic design, seismic assessment, seismic retrofit and mitigation of seismic risk. Particular expertise lies in the subjects of displacement-based seismic design and displacement-based seismic assessment applied to a wide range of structural typologies, capacity design, and seismic performance of non-structural elements. Specialist consulting experience gained in the seismic design of tall buildings and bridges. His activities in the field of SPONSE include fragility and loss analysis of glass and masonry infills, development of procedures for the estimation of floor response spectra and recently, exploration of the possibilities offered by BIM for performance-based earthquake engineering. He is also playing an active role in the formation of the new SPONSE Association.

Clemens Beiter, Hilti, Liechtenstein

Clemens Beiter is application research engineer in business unit Installation Systems of Hilti AG (Liechtenstein) since 2014. His focus research topics are the fire design and seismic design of installation support systems. Clemens Beiter is a structural engineer. He received his masters from the University of Innsbruck (Austria) in 2004. After positions at Liebherr Corporation (Austria and Ireland 2004-2008) as numerical simulation- and design engineer for cranes he joined Erne Fittings GmbH (Austria 2008-2010) as R&D project manager in pipe fitting industry. From 2010 – 2014 he served as project manager for structural engineering with civil engineering consultant M+G Ingenieure, Dipl.-Ing. Josef Galehr Ziviltechniker-GmbH (Austria).

Maryann Phipps, S.E. Senior Principal – Estructure, Oakland, CA, USA


Andrew Baird, Beca, New Zealand

Andrew Baird is a consulting structural engineer with Beca based in Bangkok, Thailand. Andrew specialises in the design of seismic restraints of non-structural elements, having received his PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Canterbury in 2014. His doctoral research was undertaken during the 2010-11 Canterbury earthquake sequence and focussed on the seismic performance of cladding systems. Andrew now leads the seismic restraint design for numerous projects in New Zealand and Australasia, ranging from commercial office spaces to complex industrial, laboratory and hospital spaces. Andrew is passionate about developing practical and efficient seismic restraint design solutions for non-structural elements.

Daniele Perrone, University of Salento, Italy.

Daniele Perrone, Ph.D., P.Eng, is Assistant Professor at University of Salento (Italy). He received his M.Sc. degree (2010) in Civil Engineering and his Ph.D. (2014) in Material and Structural Engineering from the University of Salento (Italy). His Ph.D. research was mainly related to the evaluation of the seismic performance of existing reinforced concrete hospital buildings both from a structural and non-structural point of view.  In 2012, he was research assistant at the State University of New York at Buffalo working on the seismic fragility of sprinkler piping system. Currently, his research focuses on the performance-based seismic design of non-structural elements. After the PhD he moved at the University School for Advanced Studies IUSS Pavia where he did the Post-doc. The main research interests concern the experimental and numerical evaluation of the seismic performance of non-structural elements as well as the evaluation of floor response spectra for the definition of the seismic demand. He collaborates with EUCENTRE Foundation working on the research project focusing on the seismic performance of non-structural elements.