The importance of non-structural elements in performance-based seismic design of buildings is presently widely recognized. These elements may significantly affect the functionality of buildings even for low seismic intensities, in particular for the case of critical facilities, such as hospital buildings. One of the most important issues to deal with in the seismic performance assessment of non-structural elements is the definition of the seismic demand. This paper investigates the seismic demand to which the non-structural elements of a case-study hospital building located in a medium–high seismicity region in Italy, are prone. The seismic demand is evaluated for two seismic intensities that correspond to the definition of serviceability limit states, according to Italian and European design and assessment guidelines. Peak floor accelerations, interstorey drifts, absolute acceleration, and relative displacement floor response spectra are estimated through nonlinear time–history analyses. The absolute acceleration floor response spectra are then compared with those obtained from simplified code formulations, highlighting the main shortcomings surrounding the practical application of performance-based seismic design of non-structural elements. The absolute acceleration floor response spectra are then compared with those obtained from simplified code formulations. The results, both in terms of absolute acceleration and relative displacement floor response spectra, highlighted the influence of the higher modes of the structure and the inaccuracy of the code provisions, pointing out the need for more accurate simplified methodologies for the practical application of performance-based seismic design of non-structural elements.
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