Constructing an earthquake-proof building is simply putting additional measures to ensure the building avoids significant damage during an earthquake. The difference between conventional buildings and earthquake-proof buildings is the damage to the structure’s core, which can endanger the safety of all the people in the building. It is important to add specific features during construction to give the building a better chance of survival during an earthquake.
The three key features of any earthquake-proof building across the globe are:
It is essential to ensure sufficient lateral stiffness and strength while designing earthquake-proof buildings. It is highly beneficial in stabilizing and keeping the building together. This is the primary step in developing an earthquake-proof building, and it is mandatory for making a secure building. Making sure that the building moves sideways equally is much harder than building a vertically stiff building.
As compared to the horizontal movement, the structures can handle the vertical movements of the earthquakes better. The vertical stiffness and strength of the building is the primary focus since the building has to support itself. However, structures will shift right and left because of new directional forces of earthquakes and will destabilize if they are built incorrectly.
A stable foundation is another key feature of building an earthquake-proof building. A strong and stable foundation is essential in resisting the powerful forces of an earthquake and also for the long-term survival of the building. It is important to observe how the ground reacts and moves before building carefully. There are several ways to secure the foundations of a building to the earth. The most common method is to drill the piles into the bedrock and secure the building behind the soft topsoil.
Other conventional methods of stabilizing a building are damping and trusses. Damping is the process of eliminating as much energy as possible. When an earthquake hits a building, the dampers reduce the vibrations; therefore, the vibrations do not hit the building head-on. Trusses can divide the weight of the structure evenly across the foundation and decrease the impact of an earthquake’s vibrations. The webbed design of trusses makes sure that the building holds together under harsh weather; therefore, trusses are prevalent in cyclone-proof buildings.
The materials used for constructing a building play a crucial role in making or breaking the structure’s stability. Some materials, such as bricks, can create a stable and robust building; however, they cannot handle the impact of earthquakes. The most commonly used materials in earthquake-proof buildings are structural steel, bamboo, wood, and reinforced concrete.
Structural steel can withstand stress and movement, which is vital in building earthquake-proof buildings. That is why it is used for constructing earthquake-proof buildings for years. Moreover, structural steel is famous for its flexibility and can sustain considerable deformation before rupture. Bamboo and wood are also very ductile. They are used in constructing low-lying and smaller structures such as sheds, houses, and small civic buildings.
Reinforced concrete is concrete consisting of reinforcing steel bars (rebar), which turns a low ductile material into a higher one. Reinforced concrete, in combination with structural steel, helps create earthquake-proof buildings. Concrete is prone to crack and result in structural failure from ground vibrations without steel reinforcement.