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8 important characteristics of earthquake resistant houses

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India has been under threats from natural calamities since a long time. The biggest problem that Indians face is about the safety of their homes. Many people have lost their homes in the devastating earthquake. Also, many homes have undergone severe damage and people are rebuilding and reconstructing their homes. Whether you are building a new home in the city or rebuilding the old one, there are certain constructive details that need to be followed so that a resistant and reliable building can be constructed. These buildings should be earthquake-proof and also be resistant to natural calamities in a big way.

Mentioned below are 8 priority points which should be kept in mind while designing and constructing a house, which will be resistant to earthquakes. Try reinforcing these during the process of building right from scratch.

1. The quality of the soil is important

Even before you start designing a construction which will be earthquake resistant, the first thing to consider is the soil quality which will be able to withstand the pressure of the earthquake. The soil should have good flexibility and capability.

Look for soils which have coarse components like argillaceous sands, sandy gravels and consolidated soils. These soils are usually exposed to compact, hard and natural phenomena and are great for seismic resistant structures. Refrain from soils which are soft, sandy, clayey, loose as these are not appropriate for construction. Also add plastic soils in this list as they tend to lose their mechanical capacity and strength and become deformed after receiving water. As a result, they are in no way suitable for construction. Also refrain from steep slopes, dispersive clays and soils with organic fillings.

2. Foundation matters

The foundation of a building is one of the most important things to be kept into consideration, particularly while building a seismic resistant structure. In case there are unsuitable features in the soil, try replacing a section of the soil. Another option is designing special foundations for the structure. You cannot compromise with the foundation as it is the key strength of a building. With the proper foundation, the structure can transmit the charges and weights to the nearby land and distribute them. This prevents damage to the main building. The structure, size and characteristic of the foundation will depend on the initial study of the terrain and the adjustments that need to be made. The best foundations are those which are larger than the structure which they will be supporting. Preferably the foundation should be made of reinforced steel and concrete.

Different kinds of foundations

There are many structures which require very deep support or where large load needs to be taken by the structure. For such structures, foundations in piles, well or in piles and cylinders are the preferred choices.

Apart from these, shoes are used in many foundations. There are individual as well as insulated shoes, which help in supporting column loads at a time. If there are running shoes, load of many columns and the walls can be supported at the same time. The foundation slabs are adjusted in a way so that strength and toughness is guaranteed. The running shoe foundation is ideal for homes that are being constructed as seismic resistant structure. This is all the more applicable for homes with more than one storey. Contact a soil engineering specialist for more details.

3. Height of the structure

The numbers of storeys in the building and the height of the building will be a major factor in determining the load that will be borne by the foundation and the soil. Proper calculation should be done in this regard before making the design and planning of the structure. It has been seen that with proper planning and designing, buildings with many storeys have been safe during an earthquake and other natural calamities.

4. Distribution of load and symmetry

There should be symmetry in the structural designing of the building. This not only helps in proper distribution of the load over the foundation but also helps in maintaining a constant balance. It is true that such designs look boring initially, but if the architect is an expert and experienced one, he will make design plans which will make the structure attractive without compromising with the foundation and other important details.

5. Structural design

Structures should have the capacity of withstanding dynamic as well as static forces and be flexible enough to absorb them easily. This is applicable right from the foundation to enclosures, from load walls to delays etc. Buildings that lack flexibility and are rigid have high chances of breaking and cracking during earthquakes. If there is flexibility, the weight will be shifted accordingly and prevent the building from damage. With precise balance, it is possible to deal with an earthquake as compression, flexion and traction are absorbed and the building remains safe.

It is also important to have greater numbers of structural elements right at the base, on the first floor, on columns and girders, etc. This might be slightly expensive, but it can assure stability and resistance of buildings to seismic movements.

6. Quality of building materials

The quality of building materials used in the construction of the structure is an important thing to consider for establishing strength and toughness in a building. Materials which are certified help in absorbing the energy generated during an earthquake and prevent damage to the building in the best manner. The ideal combination is use of reinforced steel with concrete. This combination is not only strong and resistant, but extremely flexible at the same time. Also, the choice of the steel should be proper with exact calibres. Mechanical tests should be done on the materials to determine their authenticity and their strength for creating seismic resistant structures.

7. Authorizations and procedures

There are National and State Building Regulations as well as Municipal Building Law, which have to be followed for construction of earthquake resistant homes. The authorizations must be managed by an architect or engineer who will handle the job. A constructive and executive project has to be submitted in a timely manner.

8. Maintenance post construction

After the construction of the structure, it is important that it should be maintained and taken care of well. After an earthquake, it is possible to understand how well the structure has been maintained. Many might not agree, but this is one of the basics of having a seismic proof building. Maintenance includes things like reinforcement of columns and gutters in case of detachments and separations, checking deck slabs, insulation restoration in walls, roofs and foundations, checking internal and external leakages etc.

It is recommended to hire a contractor who can keep a check on the structure and maintain and repair the same from time to time so that during crisis no harm is inflicted on the structure.

Do you have any other ideas to protect your home?
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