Earthquake Guide

 Assessment of Earthquake Damage

Due to strong earthquakes that happened in the recent past, the topic of earthquake aftermath and damage assessment has become one of high interest for experts in this field as well as constructions’ owners. The following are main points that both experts and owners of constructions should pay attention to during the assessment of damage process:

1. Damage that can be determined on the first sight and measures that need to be taken on the spot, such as evacuation and closing of premises.

2. Making sure that photographs of all damage have been taken. Measure and mark all cracks, and if possible number them, so that there is no confusion.

3. Measure the deviation in position of vertical elements, and shift in permanent horizontal elements within the vertical ones, as well as the degree of separation in vertical and horizontal elements.

4. If dimensions of the construction elements are different than dimensions of these given in the construction building plan, make sure to measure them and record them.

5. Take samples of material used for the construction and note its specifications in regards to resistance and tolerance to deformation.

6. If needed, in constructions with armoured concrete remove the upper layer of concrete from armature and measure diameter and the amount of armature.

7. Collect the information regarding the construction’s condition prior to the earthquake, paying attention to: under what conditions the construction was built; if there were damages from the previous earthquakes and what they were; repairs and changes made as a result of previous damages

8. The construction’s dynamic specifications, natural period and amortization rate, making of experiments in regards to static load of construction elements.

9. Establishing of characteristics of soil in area surrounding the construction; employing drilling and measuring, and other necessary operations.

10. Comparison with other similar constructions in the area for analysis purposes.

Rehabilitation from an Earthquake

The following are steps that need to be taken in order to minimize damages from strong earthquakes that may occur:

The process of bringing constructions resistance it its level existing prior to damage, is characterized by strengthening, and is usually accomplished by increasing the constructions level of resistance. That can be done by:

1.Decreasing the constructions weight Because the force that hits the construction during earthquakes is proportional to the constructions weight, the degree of decrease in constructions weight will be proportional to decrease in force that will struck the construction. In order to decrease the weight of the construction, instead of using brick for dividing walls, plaster products can be used - drywall, for example. One or more floors of the construction can be demolished. Heavy materials used for insulation of the roof can be replaced by lighter materials.Thick layers of plaster used for interior, or brick used for the facade can be removed. In order to decrease the weight of the stairway support system, the stairway can be directed straight to the ground. Please keep in mind that the possibility to decrease the weight of the construction may not always be present. However, ways of creating this possibility must be sought.

2) Increase in the Constructions Ductility

3) Increase in the Constructions Carrying Power Damage that happens in the construction is a result of the constructions insuficient level of resistance against the force that hits it. By improving the resistance level of the construcion, one will either stop the damage or disable it from happening again.

4) Improvement of the Constructions Dynamic Properties.
If the damage in the construction resulted from small difference between the construction oscillation period and ground’s oscillation period, by changing the dynamic characteristics of the construction that difference can be increased.

5. Effects of Torsion
In many constructions damage is a result of floor’s firm and rigid points being far apart. By placing firm and rigid points closer in a balanced manner, damage can be avoided.

6. Placing New Weight Carrier Points
If the number of the construction’s horizontal weight carrier points is insufficient, these horizontal weight carrier points can be either strengthen, or replaced by new, more powerful elements.

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