Earthquake Proof Buildings

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When designing earthquake safe structures, the top priority is to ensure that the highest part, which is the roof, weighs as little as possible. The most effective way to achieve this is by using profiled steel cladding on light gauge steel Zed purlins. This cladding can be made with a double skin, including spacers and insulation. The roof can have a slope ranging from 3 to 15 degrees. In cases where a “flat” roof is desired, it can be constructed using galvanised steel decking and solid insulation boards. To finish the roof, a special membrane can be applied. It is important to note that even a “flat” roof should have a slight slope of approximately 2 degrees.

If a ‘flat’ concrete roof is required, the best solution is to use steel joists placed at approximately 2m (6″) centers with composite style roof decking. An RC (reinforced concrete) slab can then be poured over the roof without the need for propping. The slab will have a thickness of approximately 110mm (4 1/2″) and weigh around 180 kg/sqm. This type of slab will be securely bonded to the frame and not at risk of slipping off or collapsing. In the case of a normal single-storey building or structure, as long as the design and construction are done competently, any normal portal frame or other steel framed building will be able to withstand Earthquake loads.

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If a building has 2 or more stories, additional measures should be taken to enhance its earthquake resilience. Similar to the roof, the floors should be made as lightweight as feasible. One approach is utilizing conventional timber joists along with timber, chipboard, or plywood flooring. In such cases, it is crucial to securely fasten the timber joists to the frames using through bolts to prevent slipping or tearing off. Stability of the frame relies on them, and it is essential to avoid any floor collapse. Alternatively, substituting timber joists with light gauge steel Zeds is a superior option.

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The Zeds provide a secure foundation for attaching floor-boards or tongue-and-groove chipboard. This makes it easier to securely fasten them to the framework. However, in certain buildings like Hotels, Apartment buildings, Offices, and similar structures, concrete floors may be necessary. In these cases, we need to adjust the spans to align with the composite decking flooring’s capacity. We then pour reinforced concrete slabs onto our decking. The decking is connected to the joists, which are in turn attached to the main beams. The main beams are secured into the columns, with concrete poured around all the columns. Consequently, there is no possibility for these floors to detach from the frame due to this method of construction.

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Earthquake Proof Buildings. (2016, Nov 18). Retrieved from

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