Castro & Associates Construction Trial Lawyers

Constructing a building to withstand earthquake forces

Earthquakes are extremely dangerous in some cases, especially when powerful. Homes and other structures need to be built to withstand any earthquake that takes place. Failing to consider the potential impacts of an earthquake could lead to catastrophic outcomes if the buildings cannot withstand the movement.

There are several reasons why buildings fail during earthquakes. Fortunately, good contractors know how to make the changes necessary to prevent homes from failing under the pressure of an earthquake.

What are some ways to protect buildings against damage during an earthquake?

The first thing to do is to make sure the soil is prepared appropriately. When soil fails, buildings can literally shift and fall due to movement. Earthquakes cause the land to slide from side to side or up and down, sometimes in all directions simultaneously. Buildings have to be constructed on solid ground and away from slopes. If they do have to be built on slopes, then the piers for the building should extend into the bedrock whenever possible.

Another way to protect a building is to create redundancy in the structure of the building. Essentially, double up the foundation, boards for the walls and so on. By increasing the foundation's load-bearing capacity, it's better able to accept the load caused by inertia. It should also be designed in a way that allows certain areas to break or fall without impacting the entire home.

Finally, construction teams should avoid using soft floors when building structures in earthquake zones. If they can't avoid using hard floors, then a better alternative is to harden them with shear support. Between support columns, there should be little space, and any ground-level supports need to resist lateral forces and be prepared to redistribute that energy throughout the building.

Building in earthquake zones isn't easy

It's never easy to build a structure that will be guaranteed to resist an earthquake. However, with the right engineering, many structures can be sturdier and withstand the forces of weak and moderate earthquakes without much trouble or damage at all.

When you work with a construction team, look into their history of building earthquake-proof structures. You want to know that the framing of the building is strong enough, and flexible enough, to stay intact no matter what kind of environmental disaster takes place beneath it. With that knowledge, you'll feel safer in your home and know you're protected in most emergency earthquake situations.

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