A building and its occupants are susceptible to vibration disturbance from sources in the environment and within buildings. Trains, trucks, and construction activities can cause vibration to travel through the ground and transmit to nearby structures. Within a building, human activity and mechanical equipment can set the structure in motion. Inaudible, low-frequency vibration can be sensed by the body and can therefore be disruptive to human activity and rest. Furthermore, certain types of scientific and industrial equipment are sensitive to vibration, even at frequencies that are imperceptible to humans.

Building Vibration

Human activity and equipment within a building can set the structure in motion. Our consultants establish design criteria, test structural properties, and recommend measures to reduce building vibration. Typically, modifications to the structural design are incorporated during the design process so the vibration is compatible with a specific building use. For example, in a residential building located over a parking garage, precautions may be needed to help reduce building vibration caused by moving vehicles.

Ground-Borne (Environmental) Vibration

Trains, heavy vehicles, and construction activities can generate vibration that travels through the ground and is received in nearby structures. Our consultants identify acceptable criteria for sensitive spaces, such as hospitals, laboratories, and dwellings. We can furnish information to owners so they better understand the vibration environment adjacent to a railway or heavy industrial areas.

Equipment Vibration

Vibrating equipment such as fans, pumps, and transformers can set a structure in motion or generate noise far from the source. We use our collective experience and industry guidelines to suggest mitigation of vibration from equipment in buildings, while accommodating the seismic restraints needed for vibration-isolated mechanical equipment.

Sensitive Instruments + Imaging

Some laboratory instruments and optical manufacturing processes are sensitive to vibration. Our consultants quantify the vibration sensitivity of equipment and then recommend techniques to reduce the effects of vibration. These measures should improve the performance of microscopes, laser interferometers, and MRI, for example.


We employ a variety of instruments to quantify the nature of vibration. Measurements can help during the investigation of a vibration problem or to verify that vibration levels meet project criteria.