Catastrophes are inevitable, especially when the main culprit is mother nature itself. One of the most common catastrophic events that have cost millions of lives and infrastructures throughout history is earthquakes. An earthquake moves the ground that can be a sudden movement, but it is usually a sequence of shock waves at short intervals. It can generate the land to move up and down and from side to side. Therefore, buildings and structures in areas with the threat of earthquakes should be earthquake-resistant.
All buildings can carry their weight or fall anyway by themselves. They can usually take a bit of snow and a few other floor loads and suspended loads as well, vertically, so even poorly built buildings and structures can resist some up-and-down loads.
To successfully plan an earthquake-resistant building, engineers must reinforce the structure and forestall an earthquake’s forces. Since earthquakes release energy that pushes a building from one direction, the strategy is to go the opposite way.
Here are some methods that architects and engineers use to help buildings withstand earthquakes:
Choose Quality Building Materials
Earthquake-resistant structures promote innovation. It is essential to use only proven and trusted materials—some of the things you need to cover poles, structural steel beams, and concrete joints. Buildings crafted out of concrete and wood offer different resilience to earthquakes. For concrete buildings, it is recommended to use concrete slabs or steel. The same method can be applied to brick structures.
In addition, wood structures should be firmly bolted down at their foundations. The materials’ durability and strength will determine the structure’s overall integrity and quality. Furthermore, it would be best if you also opted for other quality materials that keep your mechanical system safe to prevent more destruction in the event of an earthquake, such as any surface gypsum access panels. It is essential to choose one that will meet safety standards.
Create a Flexible Foundation
One way to resist the strong ground forces is to lift the building’s foundation above the Earth. Base isolation involves constructing a building on flexible lead, steel, and rubber pads. When the base of the building moves during the earthquake, the isolators vibrate while the structure remains steady. This technique helps absorb seismic waves and prevents them from traveling through buildings.
Ensure Good Foundation
Buildings become hazards during earthquakes due to their tendency to crumble after a few massive tremors. Avoid constructing buildings on a soft or loose base to maintain a structure that limits movement and excessive stress. During earthquakes, the building should have a quality shock absorber. You can find this feature in skyscrapers. Its system of ball bearings and padded cylinders helps buildings stand independently. This system also functions as a shock absorber – a technology that every engineer should consider in developing earthquake-resistant structures.
Be Conscious About The Structures Weight
More weight in the building should create a secure foundation. It entails that you need to consider the load of a building in your construction design. Creating more rooms on lower floors than the upper ones can cause the inside structure’s added weight to be equivalent to the building’s total resistance against earthquake shocks. In an earthquake, the bonding of the stirrups to the concrete weakens, which makes it more susceptible to crumbling. To control these risks, they now use massive belts around them to reinforce the structure.
Place Vibrational Control Devices
The first method involves placing dampers between a column and beam at each building level. When an earthquake occurs, the structure transfers the vibration energy into the pistons and pushes against the fat. The power is then transformed into heat, dissipating the force of the vibrations.
Utilize Pendulum Power
Another damping method is pendulum power, used primarily in skyscrapers. Engineers suspend a large ball with steel cables with a hydraulics system at the top of the building. At the beginning of the construction, the ball acts as a pendulum and moves in the opposite direction. This process will help to stabilize the movement. Like damping, these features serve to match and counteract the building’s frequency in the event of an earthquake.
Coordinate With Professionals
The possibility of having an earthquake-resistant building came from years of thorough research. Decades ago, this idea might even seem surreal. However, with the adversity of research, we have to pinpoint best case practices that are now employed in earthquake-resistant buildings. Closely monitor with local professionals like building engineers and contractors to ensure you are guided well in the process. After all, they are familiar with the area and equipped with the proper knowledge and tools.
It is impressive how building construction has advanced throughout the years. Over time, engineers can create structures that can withstand the chaotic events of nature, such as earthquakes. If you’re planning to have an earthquake-resistant design of your own, always seek help from experts and professionals.
Chris Jackson is an experienced Business Development Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the construction industry. He is currently employed by Best Access Doors, an access door supplier in the US and Canada. He has been working for the company for more than 12 years now. His area of expertise is on Negotiation, Roofers, Sales, Project Estimation, and Facility Management (FM)