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Base isolation is well known within the seismic community as a means of protecting buildings from earthquake damage. A related technique, also known as base isolation, is known to the noise and vibration community as a means of limiting the disturbance in buildings caused by groundborne vibration, such as that caused by busy roads or railways. The technique has been employed since the 1960s, and across a wide range of buildings. In all cases, the objective is to reduce internal levels of perceptible vibration and re-radiated noise, with the most common sources of concern being nearby surface or underground railways.
Despite the extensive use of base isolation, there is a significant lack of guidance on all aspects of design, from the selection of bearing type and their location within a building, to questions such as how performance should be evaluated, and the most fundamental question of all: is isolation necessary? This talk will review current practice in base-isolation design, and highlight some of the challenges and future research efforts in moving towards a performance-based design approach for controlling groundborne vibration.