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5 Checklist in Designing Earthquake Resistant Houses

By:Rena Mae Gocotano|November 12, 2019

Last October 2019, three consecutive earthquakes jolted Philippine’s Mindanao Island. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recorded the magnitude of each tremor: 5.5 and 6.3 on October 16; 6.1 and 6.6 on October 29; 6.5 on October 31. As of the latest count reported by Business World on November 6, 2019, the number of people affected by a series of earthquakes in Central Mindanao last month has reached 231, 250 and 17 declared dead. On infrastructure, 26 schools have been destroyed while 1, 050 are partially damaged. Houses account for the biggest hit with 10, 862 damaged and 22, 287 partial. 

The energy released by the movement of huge segments of the Earth’s crust generates powerful forces that spread across hundreds of kilometers. The difference between the top and bottom of the building can introduce new stress and strain onto the materials that support the structure, causing them to rupture when the base of a building shakes or lurches from the force of an earthquake. Such calamity is dangerously unpredictable but precautions may be done beforehand by building a home with quality resistance materials and structure design. Real estate Philippines with its rising high-caliber developers are gradually studying diverse means in planning better housing for all end-users considering safety and resistance. 

If one is planning on house design, it is highly important to hire a contractor that work cautiously with the house structure that could protect one’s home and family against uncertain natural disasters. Certain constructive details need to be followed and factors to be considered for reliable and resistant building can be constructed. 

5. Structural Design 

Structural analysis is a process in which to check the adequacy, structural integrity, structural soundness, and components. It is an eminent procedure to evaluate a structure use and configuration agreement to current building codes. The analysis may be performed based on assumptions such as purpose and features of the structure, type of loads and operating conditions, properties of materials, etc. Buildings must follow codes and specifications to ensure safety, strength, and stability under normal or actual loads and reducing the possibility of disproportionate collapse. The code prescribes that homes and buildings will not sustain major structural damage when an earthquake strikes.


4. Balanced Load Distribution

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Equal load distribution must be assured to avoid a situation where some of the areas are heavily loaded. Symmetry in the structural design of the building is a must. It not only helps in proper distribution of the load over the foundation but also in maintaining a constant balance. Loads are a primary consideration in any building design since they define the nature and magnitude of hazards that a building must resist for safety and serviceability. The structural frame must be able to withstand eight of the following loads including wind, earth, and rain without catastrophic stress in the formation. Understanding of building loads will strengthen one’s view in a general system. Loads are anticipated by the building’s intended use like occupancy and function, configuration for size and shape, and location for climate and site conditions.

3.  Safety Component 

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Every region has its building standards and regulations that must be observed. Construction compliance is decided depending on the seismic incidence of the area. If one lives in an area that falls into the seismic zone, inhabitants should be doubly cautious in building a house. Land location, choice of materials used in the building, proportion, gravity of the volumes, etc. are the factors that have to be observed. If the following conditions are not properly calculated, the whole building process might lead to disaster than providing safety. Seismic engineering can’t able to stop the perception of an earthquake but it can be of great help in keeping the construction rigid, even if there is an earthquake, the structure will not break or collapse. The interior security is safeguarded.

2.Solid Foundation 

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With the soil bearing capacity of the location and topography, the type and size of the foundation are required. The foundation designs depend on two factors, the load and the nature of the ground on which they are placed. One of the key factors in designing a house good structural foundation for a stable house is matching the type of the house to the type of the ground. Footings and foundations are to homes what feet and legs are to the human body. It anchors the home to the ground and supports the foundation which in turn carries the weight of the home. Aside from footing, if one builds on soft clay soil, or there is a soft zone under the foundation, there can be a possible trouble. With these tough cases, it is helpful for future homeowners to understand the bearing strength of the soil and the reasons behind the footing design rules. Minor mistakes are sometimes considered not quite a big deal but one must be very cautious for safety. 

1.Soil Characteristic

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The base where will be the structure is standing is to be considered to know what soil consists of the lot. The condition of the soil determines the foundation’s stable and safe structure. Soil properties and managing the movement of water at the building site are toward long-term success. The strength and stability of soil are related to its physical properties. Some soils can support a skyscraper while other types are not able to support the human weight. If the soil under a building is not stable, the foundation may crack, sink or worse fall during the earthquake. In this case, location and topography are also premeditated. Topography refers to the slope and level of the land, whether the land is flat and plain, or in sloping. It is a measurement of elevation and slope is the percentage change in elevation over a certain distance. 

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