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.
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.
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.