Posts made in November, 2015

Constructing Earthquake Proof Buildings

The force of nature is beyond most people’s control in almost all cases. Earthquakes are one of the phenomena that originate from deep within the earth. Its effects can be catastrophic particularly if you don’t plan well for it. Earthquakes range in intensity, and there are of a wide variety, so it’s not actually possible to create a building that can handle all of them. However, you can construct a building that can stand up to most. If you are looking for a builder, make sure to look for one that is familiar with the following tips to design and build buildings that can stand earthquakes.

Lighter Loads

Most buildings fail because they aren’t built to handle sideways loads. Earthquakes cause a side by side motion, and it is this kind of motion that causes the greatest damage. To make the building more secure, you need to make it lighter. The lighter it is, the better it’s going to handle the side by side motion. This is particularly important for the components higher up the building such as the roof; that’s where the stability is lowest. Materials such as fibre-reinforced composites, which are seven times lighter than cement are best to use.

Keep the Building Symmetrical

Sometimes, you may want to add a bit of creativity in the construction. However, you need to ensure that the building is kept symmetrical. Avoid any L shaped or T shaped buildings, because they don’t distribute the forces equally. Though these kind of structures may be more visually appealing, they can easily twist about their axes in case of an earthquake.

Using Moment Resisting Frames

Some building designs use moment resisting frames to combat the motion of an earthquake. Here, the beams and columns may bend but the joints between them are designed to remain rigid. That results in the whole frame moving and boosts the flexibility of the building. This is a much preferred option as to building rigid structures that try to stiffen the building from the rocking forces.

Special care needs to be taken from the foundation to first floor. If the building is to have a taller clear height (distance between floor and lowest ceiling), then the columns here need to be much stronger than the ones at other levels. You could also create continuity at the feet of the columns to give better structural integrity.

Base Isolation

The foundation is hit first by the earthquake. One technique of combating earthquakes is by isolating it entirely from its foundation. A system of springs, cylinders and bearings is used to float the building on its foundation. The best bearings are lead-rubber. The lead core creates a stiff result and strengthens the building in the vertical direction, while the rubber gives it flexibility in the horizontal axis. That way, the foundation combats the side by side motion a lot better.

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Effects Of Poor Asphalt Laying In Paved Surfaces

Asphalt is a common paving material in the region. It provides a smooth, even surface to walk or drive on. It’s also highly durable thanks to the waterproofing elements of bitumen. However, simply paving your property with asphalt does not guarantee you a durable surface. The installation process is what will determine if you will get to enjoy these asphalt qualities now and in the future. If installed poorly, your surfaces might start to show some of these ‘symptoms’ after a while.

Early cracking

Asphalt may crack after many years of use. This is caused by the harsh UV rays that tend to cause bitumen amalgamation. However, your newly-paved asphalt surface should not crack early on in its lifetime. If that happens, it could be due to improper mixing of the bitumen and aggregate mix; specifically, using too much bitumen in the mix. Such a mix tends to coagulate more, thus causing your asphalt surface to pull in different directions, causing cracks.


Though not very common, your asphalt layer could ‘peel’ or come loose after some time; another effect of poor installation. Asphalt peeling is caused by lack of enough adhesive application between the asphalt top layer and the base course layer beneath it. Without sufficient adhesive, moisture may get under the asphalt and slowly cause detachment, which eventually causes the asphalt layer to come off.


A well-laid asphalt road or driveway should be smooth and entirely flat. If you notice bumps that cause your car to wiggle about at high speeds, that too is due to improper asphalt-laying. Specifically, it’s due to poor grading, compacting or both. In a lay man’s language, unevenness may be caused by not compacting the hot asphalt well upon pouring; not grading the site well before pouring the asphalt; or not pouring the right base course infill.


Chipping here refers to where the top surface starts to come off in small particles. If you notice this, it’s most likely due to low bitumen application in the construction mix. Bitumen is the binder that makes asphalt surfaces smooth and long lasting. When less amounts of bitumen are used, the asphalt doesn’t hold together as good as it should. This is especially common around the edges.

So how do you avoid all this? For a long lasting asphalt road, driveway, parking lot or playing court, seek the services of an experienced road contractor, such as Catwest Road Services. Ask about the warranty too. This will safeguard you from the above repairs and guarantee you maximum value for your investment.

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What Are Some Little-Known Sources Of Electrical Energy?

Electrical energy is more of a need than a luxury in the modern-day setting. There is an ever-increasing demand for electrical energy, which has created the need for commercial entities, such as commercial electrical contractors, to seek alternative sources of electrical energy that are more sustainable and less harmful to the environment.

Solar and wind energy are among the most commonly known alternative sources of electrical energy. However, the two are not the only sources of alternative energy. Discussed below are some of the lesser-known sources of electrical energy.

Ocean Currents And Waves

Oceans are among the lesser-known alternative sources of electrical energy. As such, their potential to provide clean energy for commercial use has not been fully exploited. Ocean waves and currents produce powerful, rhythmic movements when the tides are high. The power in these movements can be harnessed to facilitate the operation of electric generators for the production of electrical energy. Electrical energy generated through this mechanism would then need to be transported to commercial entities on land through the use of electric cables.

Commercial entities with the financial ability to develop electricity-generating equipment that will withstand the corrosive nature of salty ocean waters would reap great benefits should they choose to exploit this alternative source of electrical energy.


Biomass refers to electrical energy generated from by-products of various animals and plants. Common by-products used in the production of biomass energy include wood chips, molasses from sugar factories, and cow dung among several others.

Production of biomass energy is mostly done through direct burning of the mentioned by-products. In certain cases, the by-products are converted into combustible gases that will generate power when burnt.

Commercial entities whose main activity produces significant amounts of plant and/or animal waste can embrace this alternative source of electrical energy to power their day-to-day operations.

Fuel Cells

Fuel cells are defined as devices with the ability to produce electrical energy through a chemical reaction. The reaction referred to involves the combination of hydrogen and oxygen to produce heat, water, and electricity. Fuel cells are a cleaner option for power generation, because their use does not produce the toxic waste products that are synonymous with the use of fossil fuels for the same purpose.

However, fuel cells are too expensive to be used as a primary source of commercial electrical energy. Commercial entities looking to embrace the use of fuel cell technology can use fuel cells as their source of back-up power.

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Reminders for Any Renovation

If you've decided to undertake a project around your house, there are a few things to remember. First, make sure to have a good idea of the cost going in. Talk to local specialists for estimates or do research on the cost of supplies and labor. Second, always make sure to take necessary safety precautions. While a landscape project may seem like a lower-risk task than a rewiring job, it never hurts to be too careful. Finally, don't bite off more than you can chew. Plan out your renovation and repair projects in detail and then tackle one thing at a time. If you ever feel out of your element, hand the job over to a contractor. They'll know how to get the job done efficiently, safely, and correctly.


November 2015
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