Site Access Policies

The equipment available at SEESL can be assembled in various unique configurations. The equipment can be hazardous to the operators and to the users if used improperly. This Access Plan is intended to provide safe access to equipment and work areas to local and outside researchers. Therefore safety is the primary concern for all access rules, restrictions, and limitations.

This document defines also the types of access to the UB site that Researchers will enjoy, identifies constraints and limitations on the access and use of the facility, and finally describes the safety plan of the SEESL.

Facilities Information

This section provides a list of facilities, a brief description of equipment available to researchers, at SEESL.

A more detailed description of equipment may be found at

Facilities, equipment and services available to researchers:

  • Two six-degree of freedom, 50 tons each (100 tons combined) load capacity shake tables – complete performance description see on website
  • Three high-performance dynamic actuators (1000 kN capacity, ±500 mm stroke, 1 m/s velocity, 800 gpm servo-valves), equipped with load cells and displacement transducers.
  • Two static actuators (±2000 kN capacity, ±500mm stroke), equipped with displacement transducers.
  • Data acquisition systems with a combined capacity of up to 350 channels.
  • An advanced 3D coordinate tracking system Krypton with up to 150 LED targets.
  • A 285m2 (~300sq.ft) strong floor with 610x610 mm (2 x 2 ft) ties-down grid.
  • A 19.5 m by 9 m (60 x 30 ft) strong reaction wall with 610x610 mm (2 x 2 ft) ties-down grid.
  • 40-ton and 20-ton overhead Gantry cranes.
  • A 4-person capacity collaboration room with tele-observation and tele-participation capabilities (subject to the constraints presented below), and 4-workstations on the 3rd floor mezzanine
  • A furnace that can reach up to 1,000 degrees Celsius and has the capability of applying vertical and horizontal loads using actuators.
  • A multi-fan wind tunnel of 8x8 array of individually controlled fans that combined can reach up to 40 mph winds.

Note that these facilities and equipment are unique and may not always be available due to use on prior projects. Careful planning and scheduling is required.

Facilities, equipment, and services available to all researchers for a fee consist of:

  • Accelerometers (total of 63), displacement transducers (total of 70 with capacities ranging from 100mm to 300mm), and load cells (total of 34 with 5 multi-component cells with 200kN axial load capacity and 90kN shear load capacity).
  • A third 5DOF-50 tons capacity shaking table with capabilities identical to the new ones.
  • A small isolation bearing testing machine with 600kN vertical load capacity, ±150mm stroke and 0.4m/sec velocity.
  • A large isolation bearing testing machine with 7000kN axial load capacity, ±125mm stroke and .25m/sec velocity.
  • Ten hydraulic actuators with 10 to 1000kN load capacity, ±50 to ±300mm stroke and up to 1.75m/sec velocity.
  • Manifolds, controllers, and all equipment needed for the control of the actuators in item (e) above.
  • Two portable data acquisition systems, each of 12 channels capacity.
  • X-Y recorders, frequency analyzers, portable measuring devices, oscilloscopes, digital multi-meters, borescopes, thickness measuring devices, roughness measuring instruments, etc.
  • A 30 m3 environmental chamber capable of sustaining temperatures in the range of -40o-C to 50oC.
  • A six-story, quarter length scale steel model structure with 200kN weight for use in earthquake simulator testing.
  • A bridge, quarter length scale steel model with 150kN weight and featuring flexible or stiff piers for use in earthquake simulator testing.
  • A versatile, quarter length scale steel model that can be configured in a variety of configurations, including 3-bay, 3-story building and one-bay, 6-story building.
  • Welding equipment, hydraulic jacks, forklifts, rigging equipment, etc.
  • Heavy hand and machine tools.
  • Technical services for assembly of heavy specimens.
  • Instrumentation modifications and calibration services.
  • The University at Buffalo library facilities during the duration of their stay (subject to the limitations listed below).
  • Parking space at the University at Buffalo parking facilities for a nominal fee (typically less than $5 per year) over the duration of their stay (subject to the limitations listed below).

Complete details of the above equipment and services are listed in the SEESL Lab Manual. The current fees schedule is posted in the Recharge Rates part of our website. For fees are not available in the schedule, a user should contact the Technical Services Manager.

Key Contacts at SEESL


Andreas Stavridis

Associate Professor

Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

224 Ketter Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260

Phone: (716) 645-7366


Technical Services Manager

Scot Weinreber.

Scot Weinreber

Technical Services Manager

Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering

M161 Ketter Hall

Phone: (716) 645-2180


Structural and Test Engineer

Yushan Fu.

Yushan Fu

Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory

234 Ketter Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260

Phone: (716) 645-3491


* While the key positions of SEESL will remain the same, the actual people holding those positions may be changed periodically. Check out our website for periodic updates.

The mailing address of SEESL is:

Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL)

Department of Civil Structural and Environmental Engineering

212 Ketter Hall, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260-4300

Business Calendar/Hours

The SEESL laboratory follows the official schedule of University at Buffalo, including its holiday schedule or closure of the university due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. The laboratory is operating 5 days a week between 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. Work after hours or weekends may be possible in special cases with prior approval of Technical Services Manager. Special safety restrictions and requirements will apply to such scheduling.

Project Planning / Work Plan

All personnel planning to access the SEESL site must follow the guidelines for access of facilities developed by SEESL. The following are minimum requirements for the access of SEESL site:

The key element to safe and efficient use of the SEESL equipment, the lab space and the associated facilities is the project work plan. A detailed work plan will need to be prepared by all project leads that must be approved by the Technical Services Manager prior to any project related work occurring in the SEESL. The work plan will be incorporated into a contractual agreement between the clients or researchers and the University at Buffalo in behalf of SEESL for the project and will be the governing document to control the project as it moves through the facility.

Clients and researchers must submit a work plan: indicating the test set-up, the equipment and instrumentation required, the testing protocol intended, the specimens removal actions, detailed information concerning the individual work tasks to be performed, the duration of the tasks, the order in which the tasks are performed, identification of who will perform the tasks, and the resources required to perform the tasks, and a comprehensive schedule with milestones related to the project schedule. The following is an itemized list of issues to be covered by the

Work Plan:

  1. A list of tasks to be performed
  2. Specimen and fail safe system drawings
  3. Calculations of the specimen and failsafe system
  4. An instrumentation plan
  5. A testing plan
  6. List of equipment, materials, supplies, tools and personnel to carry out the work tasks
  7. Space requirements including lab and office space
  8. A rigging plan including disposal of specimens after testing
  9. Schedule of tasks including duration and timing

All experiments to be performed using the SEESL equipment should be carefully planned to assure safety of equipment, operators, and all other users of the laboratory. All researchers should develop detailed plans for the tests set-ups which must include provisions for fail-safe of experiments and equipment. Detailed construction plans for all specimens and test fixtures designed by the visiting researchers must be provided. The plans must include a detailed design of the fail-safe system. Each testing arrangement and specimen must be reviewed and certified (stamped) by a Professional Engineer with experience in dynamic testing (or with demonstrated equivalent qualifications). The SEESL Technical Services Manager will review completeness of submittal. The Technical Services Manager will work with the visiting clients and researchers to review the testing plans and help the visiting personnel demonstrate and document that their testing apparatuses satisfy the OSHA, State and Campus safety requirements. The Technical Services Manager will be the point of contact and provide the additional information needed by the visiting personnel and review teams to develop their plans. Note the safety of the test set-up and the equipment will remain the responsibility of the researcher.

Once activity begins in the SEESL facility, the visiting clients or researchers must update the work plan weekly and submit any changes for review and must be approved by the Technical Services Manager.

Failure to follow policies regarding safety or work plan will result in the following consequences:

  • First offense – verbal reminder
  • Second offense – written notification of out of scope work or safety violation to researcher.
  • Third offense – suspension of work and a mandatory safety review or work plan review.

Lab Staff have the right to stop, alter, or refuse any task or operation of any piece of equipment that is being performed by any user of the lab.

Safety Requirements

Laboratory safety is of the highest priority at the SEESL facility. The combination of large load, high speed testing capability with the testing of large specimens to failure at SEESL, requires special measures for safety. The full Safety Manual can be found on our website:

This Safety Plan requires safety training of all employees, students and visitors. Moreover, it requires periodic inspection of laboratories and other spaces for identification of unsafe conditions and for instituting corrections. The SEESL Technical Services Manager and the SEESL Safety Officer are the responsible persons for implementing the Safety Plan and for coordinating the training of employees, students and visitors in the facility. The SEESL Director, Deputy Director, and Technical Services Manager are in charge with development of rules and policies or resolving safety issues in absence of such policies which cover all operations of the SEESL site. A Field Safety Officer, who serves on the technicians staff of the laboratory, serves as the floor supervisor. The safety implementation staff is empowered to suspend work or visit of any person who does not comply with the safety requirements.

  • All researchers planning to work in the laboratory must ware personal protection equipment (PPE), which includes:
  • Hardhats are mandatory for all who access the testing floors in the laboratory. Hardhats are not required on the observation deck at third floor.
  • Steel toe boots are required in all areas of the testing floors. Safety shoes are not required on the observation deck.
  • Gloves are required whenever assembling or disassembling test specimens or test fixtures.
  • Eyeglasses are mandatory when grinding, impacting, drilling, mixing, or hammering.
  • Earplugs or earmuffs are recommended and available from Lab Personnel when grinding, impacting, or drilling.
  • A personal safety harness shall be used when required by Lab Personnel.

The laboratory will provide for short term visitors hard hats, gloves, eye protection goggles, earplugs and safety harnesses. Safety Shoes should be provided by the researchers.

Insurance and Liabilities

Employees and students of the University at Buffalo who completed safety training are covered by the university’s global insurance against injuries that may result from work in the SEESL facility. This does not apply to non University at Buffalo personnel from other institutions and companies, who perform work at the SEESL facility.

Visiting personnel must carry an insurance certificate from their home institution or work place. Each visiting personnel shall provide prior to the work, a certificate of insurance before access is permitted to the SEESL facility. The insurance shall cover personal injury and injury to others that the person(s) is responsible, and damage to equipment that is caused by the person(s).

The visiting personnel must agree to hold the University at Buffalo, the University at Buffalo faculty, and staff of the SEESL harmless for any acts, errors, omissions, and negligence.

Access to Facilities

Researchers and clients will enjoy the following privileges during the duration of the part of their project that is executed at SEESL.

  • Access to the physical site, laboratory areas and equipment, listed in Section on Information on SEESL (above) are subject to the constraints listed in Section on Constraints and Limitations (below).
  • These constraints consist of the requirements that the visiting receive safety training at SEESL, and have a certificate of insurance that covers accidents in the laboratory and includes medical expenses and liability. See section on Safety Requirements above.
  • These visitors will be issued CSEE department and SEESL controlled electronic access cards to the SEESL facilities only. Temporary parking passes will be provided to visitors after discussion with the Technical Services Manager.
  • Visitors will have access to the university's wireless network for the duration of their visit. All network usage must adhere and agree to the University at Buffalo's network access policy before being allowed access. VPNs and other security settings set up from outside the University at Buffalo may prevent access being granted due to the University at Buffalo's own internet and security policies.

Access Constraints and Limitations

Access to the SEESL facilities is subject to the following constraints and limitations:

  • All visiting personnel (either short or long term) must undergo safety training prior to starting work in the laboratory. The training may start at the home institution by studying the Safety Training Manual (available on the website: Upon arrival to SEESL, the visitors must take on-site training, which includes a walk through the facilities and an examination (described below).
  • All visitors planning to work in the laboratory must ware personal protection equipment (PPE), which includes hard hat, steel-toed shoes, gloves, eye protection goggles, or glasses with synthetic lenses, hearing protection devices and respirators.  (see more details in the section on Safety Requirements above)
  • All must obey the safety rules. Failure to comply and failure to obey the directions by the laboratory personnel will result in denial of access to the SEESL and other CSEE facilities. In the case of non-compliance, the Field Safety Officer will provide one warning, followed by immediate ejection from the laboratory if error is not corrected. Safety in Laboratory is the primary concern. Non-compliance may endanger all people in the lab and cannot be tolerated.   
  • All outside researchers and visitors accessing the testing floors must be insured to cover personal injury, medical expenses, injuries to others that they may cause and damage to equipment that they may cause.  Certificates of insurance must be presented to the Technical Services Manager or the Field Safety Officer before accessing the facility. (see section on Insurance above)
  • All researchers and visitors must agree to hold University at Buffalo, the University at Buffalo faculty, and staff of the SEESL harmless for any acts, errors, omissions, and negligence. (See also Liability above)

Special access information

The following are excerpts from the Lab Safety Manual. The requirements listed below are intended to provide a short - select itemized list of “do and do not’s. “

  • General Requirements
    • Access in the laboratory is permitted when at least one other person is in the laboratory, which is informed of your presence and is in eye or communication contact with you at all times, along with prior permission from the Lab Personnel.
    • Know where the First Aid Kit, Eye Wash Station, Fire Exits, Fire Extinguishers, and Electrical Disconnects are located.
    • Know the location of emergency phones and emergency shut off buttons for the hydraulic pump system. Use them at the request of lab personnel or in their absence using your best judgment.
    • Keep walkways (which are marked with crosshatched yellow tape) clear of all obstacles at all times.
    • Do not block fire extinguishers or electrical panels.
    • Clean up work area daily.
    • If your work will generate dust, cover sensitive equipment before you start, and clean up the dust.  Dust cleaning equipment is available.
    • At the end of testing, remove safely the specimens as agreed in the work plan. The project leads and visitors remains responsible of all removal operations till its end.
  • Testing Areas
    • When red strobe lights are flashing near one or both of the Shake Tables, the hydraulic system is active and testing is in progress.  Unauthorized personnel should not approach within 10 feet of any hydraulic line, shake table, actuator, or test specimens.  Authorization must be obtained from the lab test supervisor.
    • The authorized personnel attending a live experiment must be equipped with a communication device provided by the Technical Services Manager and stay in communication with the test supervisor.
    • All other project work may be limited by Lab Personnel on a test day given scope and location of the work being performed.
    • All personnel accessing the spaces under the testing floor and the service rooms in the basement must remain in communication contact with a lab supervisor working above the floor
  • Cranes, Forklifts, Scissor-lifts
    • Cranes, Forklifts, and Scissor-lifts may not be used unless the operator has been trained and certified by Lab Personnel.
    • Heavy and/or large items are to be craned and rigged only by Lab Personnel.
    • Avoid crane use above hydraulic actuators, controllers, data acquisition systems or hydraulic systems without proper help from a second person.
    • Cranes shall not be left unattended while still attached to a specimen or test fixture.
    • Scissor-lifts must be operated / attended by a team of two users at one time.
  • Laboratory Equipment
    • Do not use any power tool unless approved by Lab Personnel.
    • Do not move or modify any hydraulic actuator, accumulator, or hydraulic line.  This can be done only by authorized lab personnel.
    • Use of the welder or blow torch is not allowed.  This can be done only by authorized lab personnel.
    • All tools must be inspected before use and any defect reported to Lab Personnel.
    • Return tools to the proper location at the end of each working day and when the job is complete.
    • Do not use any pre-stressing Jacks. This can be done only by authorized lab personnel.
    • Ladders must be properly positioned and/or tied off.
  • Access to Tools
    • The SEESL Laboratory has tools (hand tools, power tools, air tools, and welding tools) that are available to researchers and visitors who have paid the user fee.
    • The recharge rates are identified in the master agreement between SEESL and the researcher or visiting personnel. Recharge rates are updated annually. (see section on Recharge Fees) Current recharge rates can be found on the SEESL website.
    • Power tools can be checked out of the Equipment Room on a daily basis, while the hand tools will be available in a kit that can be checked out for the duration of a SEESL project. Researchers will be responsible for returning all tools to the Equipment Room in operable condition.
    • The project leads will be responsible for replacing any lost hand tools.
    • The electric welder and/or cutting torch may be used by qualified professionals who are hired on a subcontract basis to either fabricate or demolish test specimens.  In such cases, prior approval from the Technical Services Manager must be obtained.
    • The subcontractor wishing to use this equipment will be required to verify professional qualifications and prior experience.
  • Access to Instrumentation
    • For safety reasons, only SEESL staff are allowed to operate much of the SEESL Laboratory equipment. Examples of this equipment include: hydraulic equipment (e.g., pump, manifolds, controllers, actuators and hoses), forklift, scissors lift, electric arc welder, oxygen-acetylene cutting torch, and all computing equipment (except as outlined in the Access to IT Section), cameras (except as outlined below), and associated cabling (except as outlined below). This policy will be enforced strictly. The only exceptions are use of the electric welder and/or cutting torch (as described in the Access to Tools Section), and data sensors and lighting.  
    • Data sensors (e.g., linear variable differential transformers, string pots, and other reusable sensors not purchased with project funds), lighting equipment and associated cabling may be checked out of the Equipment Room for the period of time identified in the work plan schedule.  
    • Calibration of this equipment must be done by the SEESL staff. SEESL staff will remove and return all reusable instrumentation, lighting, and associated cabling.  
    • Video and still image cameras and associated equipment are to be installed only by SEESL Laboratory personnel.  SEESL staff will also remove and return all cameras and associated equipment.  However, video or still image cameras can be checked out of the Equipment Room on a daily basis during operating hours for short-term use.
  • Access to the SEESL Controllers
    • For safety reasons, only SEESL staff will be allowed to operate the facilities' equipment, including controllers for the Shake Tables and other actuator equipment.
  • IT Access
    • The SEESL Laboratory is outfitted with a variety of data acquisition, archiving, and telepresence equipment, including sensors (e.g., load cells, transducers, and cameras), servers, appliances, and cabling.  
    • Access to all computers is restricted to SEESL personnel only.
    • All results and metadata for experiments and simulations conducted within the SEESL will be stored.
    • The SEESL staff will facilitate access to the data repository.  However, SEESL staff will not provide curation or data reduction services for a research project.


An agreement must be prepared before work can start at SEESL, which is developed between SEESL and the contractor/research. It will establish the resources (including SEESL staff personnel) to be utilized in the laboratory and the resources required for the completion of the project. The agreement will be signed by the financial officer of the visiting personnel's company or institution and the SEESL Technical Services Manager.


Failure to obey the agreed upon schedule may result in additional fees for the exceeding period. The agreement will include assurances that such fees will be paid to SEESL.  In case of major slip in schedule the work may be indefinitely postponed and a new schedule will have to be negotiated jointly with SEESL and the Technical Services Manager.

Recharge Rates - Fees

The use of the SEESL equipment by researchers and industrial clients require budgeting according to rates approved by the University at Buffalo. The Recharge Fees for all users is available from the webpage


An agreement should be developed between the researchers and/or visitors and SEESL represented by a member of the Sponsored Programs Administration or the Technical Services Manager. The agreement should address all the rules and requirements of this document. The list below summarizes the issues to be addressed by the agreement:

  • Work Plan (including the requests for equipment, space, personnel)
  • Safety requirements
    Insurance and liability
  • Access to facilities
  • Resources needed and budget recovery mechanism
  • Schedules

The agreement can be developed with the assistance of the Technical Services and other key Lab Personnel. The agreement must be signed prior to the start of actual work at SEESL.

Laboratory access by visitors and groups

  • All visitors must be accompanied by a University host such as a member of the University Administration, Dean’s Office, Engineering Faculty, or SEESL staff.  Active research students may also act as hosts.
  • Advance notice of any visit should be given to the Technical Services Manager, whenever possible.
  • Host must notify Technical Services Manager immediately on arrival in Laboratory.
  • All visitors must read the abbreviated minimum safety instructions.
  • Visitors are not permitted in the basement unless they have express approval of Technical Services Manager on each occasion.
  • Visitors are not to be allowed on testing floor unless you have express approval of Technical Services Manager
  • Notify the Technical Services about details of any visit (name of group, size, date and time of visit) with a request to update visitor database.