9 Structural Design Tips for Minimizing Earthquake Damage

9 Structural Design Tips for Minimizing Earthquake Damage

As you all know, recently there have been a few natural events that shook the world yet once again. The massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile not too long ago and the one in Haiti on January 12 left us helpless in this ongoing confrontation between man and nature. We know we can not do anything from preventing a phenomenon of this proportions, but let’s see if there is a way we can minimize the damage when it comes to building a home.

Almost 2600 earthquakes occur in a day across the globe, most of them which we do not feel. However, the buildings with a weak structure take on significant damage, at really low magnitudes. This should not happen- mainly because when the building is shaky, people’s lives are in danger.

We gathered up a list of structural design tips that you should take into consideration when building a home in an area affected by seismic actions.

  • First of all, you should know no architecture plan is full-proof. Still, when is comes to building a home in an earthquake area, its shape should be as aerodynamic as possible.
  • The foundation of the house should be placed on leveled ground.
  • Keep in mind that regular shapes are a lot more stable than unusual ones.
  • The material used should be concrete and fiber glass and  as these are the best and most resistant materials in the construction field.
  • The overall building project should be very stable- this means that its center of gravity should always be in the same exact pin point location. You can achieve this by consulting with a professional architect in this matter.
  • Cantilevers should not have more than 3-4 feet in length or they should be avoided altogether.
  • Columns are very dangerous and could easily collapse causing a lot of harm, which is why the distance between them should be as small as possible.
  • Avoid fires and accidents which occur due to a bad electrification plan by installing a main switch and circuit breakers.
  • Careful with the spearhead water tanks- as they affect the building’s stability.  It is advisable that you use more than one tank and that you place them in different locations not to affect the center of gravity.

We hope we have provided you with a minimum amount of information in order to get you started with your building plans. If you have any other tips that you would like to share, you are welcomed to leave a comment.

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