The lateral load resisting system of a multi-storey building is considered to be an assembly of structural components, such as the structural frame, shear walls, concrete cores, etc. However, in reality, some so-called ‘non-structural components (NSCs)’ also play important roles in adding stiffness to the building. To evaluate the contributions from those NSCs and to quantify some of their contributions to the stiffness of the structure under service level loads, this paper reports on the analysis of a lateral load resisting system with different components so that the stiffness contribution from each individual component may be evaluated. Results from finite element analyses are verified by other theoretical calculations. Discussions and conclusions on the performance of both single components and the building system are also provided. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.