The University of Nevada's Large-Scale Structures Lab is working on research designed to improve the earthquake resistance of buildings' nonstructural aspects. The National Science Foundation is funding the $4 million effort. Water pipes and other nonstructural elements usually represent about 85% of a building's value and "can cause lots of damage and downtime because the building can't be used, and they can cause injuries or death," said Manos Maragakis, dean of the university's college of engineering.

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