Earthquake—a dreaded natural calamity, man has been trying for centuries to combat this catastrophic act of nature. Despite being able to construct steel and concrete sky scraper buildings, providing 100% guarantee of stability of these buildings against a major earthquake has still been a challenge. But how exactly does earthquake affect building structures?

There are two main types of constructions commonly seen in buildings—load bearing wall structure and framed structure. In load bearing walls structure, the building is constructed with continuous vertical walls to support the floor slabs at different levels. However, if it is functionally inconvenient to have continuous vertical partitions, then the framed structure is implemented wherein isolated vertical posts (columns) are connected with horizontal bands (beams) to support the structure.

Both these structures play the role of withstanding the load (weight) of the objects stored on them, similar to the structure of shelves. But imagine a stack of shelves constructed without joining or connecting the horizontal shelves with the vertical partitions (load bearing type) or with the vertical posts (frame type)—i.e. the shelves are simply resting on the vertical members, placed one above the other—and apply a horizontal push to it. The whole shelf can collapse like a pack of cards. The effect of an earthquake is very similar to this horizontal push.

Fortunately, present day technology can precisely determine the forces and stresses that a building can undergo. Knowing the strength of the material of which the member is made of helps in achieving economy of materials hence economy of cost of construction. The whole process is called structural analysis and design.

The approach towards the earthquake resistant design has been to control and reduce the extent of damage as it is difficult and uneconomical to design for all types of earthquake forces which are unpredictable. Our engineers evaluate the ground acceleration and response of the building structure to it to develop detailing of joints of vertical and horizontal members of the supporting structural framework. Our quality and safety-oriented approach ensures that your home remains a safe place for you and your loved ones.

Image Copyright: madmaxer / 123RF Stock Photo

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