Can the Building You are in Survive Earthquake?

In certain areas of the world, it is crucial to shape structures to endure the  damage and destruction associated with earthquakes. While we cannot predict an earthquake, scientists can sometimes give us warnings that earthquakes can be imminent. Unfortunately, when it comes down to brass tacks, we are completely at life’s mercy to survive an earthquake, and buildings must be built to withstand an earthquake at any time.

A lot of research has been done regarding the types of structures which fare best in an earthquake. Generally speaking, the consensus is that metal buildings fare better than other materials.

However, one might ask: does this mean that all metal buildings can resist an earthquake?

The answer is no. Just because a building is metal does not mean it will automatically do well in an earthquake.

Metal structures are more possible to survive earthquakes because they are more yielding — they can bend without breaking. This characteristic is crucial in an earthquake.

The most known of metal used to create earthquake-prudent buildings is steel rebar. Steel rebar has the ductility that is essential to absorbing earthquake vibrations and is very solid, making it the best and most useful selection of material for buildings within an earthquake zone.

Steel rebar has proven to be a material that can withstand earthquakes, but it not foolproof evidence in and of itself. It must be practical within engineering and architectural principles to maximize its effectiveness. If you are considering using steel rebar to build an earthquake-strong building, be absolutely sure your tactics and methods are correct, or hire a designer who is familiar with such structures.

Other types of metal buildings are far less prepared for earthquakes, and can be somewhat unsafe in earthquake-prone areas. Metal modular homes are not constructed to withstand the tremendous shock of an earthquake. These types of buildings would be very unsafe in an earthquake zone. Also, leaf metal buildings are very vulnerable to earthquakes as well. Experts do not advise either of these types of structures to be sited in an earthquake zone. Some zoning laws forbid them altogether.

Another very important factor that influences whether a structure will survive an earthquake or not is the distribution of weight. A house that is top-heavy is more likely to damage than a structure that is lightweight at the top. An earthquake-proof house should be framed with lighter supplies in the higher floors and have a heavily reinforced interior.

The most important message to learn from this discussion is that just because a house is made of metal doesn’t necessarily mean it is earthquake-proof. To be wholly earthquake resilient, a building needs to be constructed using the proper materials (like steel rebar), and be built not only to withstand an earthquake, but be in compliance with local standards as well.

If you own a commercial office space, or any business office space, you owe it to your customers, and anyone who uses the building to use the best materials and techniques available to you. You want to get the most out of your investment, so give it the attention it deserves.

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