Earthquake Proof Buildings

When designing earthquake safe structures the first consideration is to make the highest bit, the roof, as light as possible - Earthquake Proof Buildings introduction. This is best done with profiled steel cladding on light gauge steel Zed purlins. This can also have double skin with spacers and insulation. It can have a roof slope between 3 and 15 degrees. If it is required to have a ‘flat’ roof, this could be made with a galvanised steel decking and solid insulation boards, and topped with a special membrane. Even a ‘flat’ roof should have a slope of about 2 degrees.

If it is required to have a ‘flat’ concrete roof, then the best solution is to have steel joists at about 2m, 6″, centres, and over these to have composite style roof decking. Then an RC slab can be poured over the roof, with no propping; the slab will only be say 110mm, 4 1/2″, and will weigh only about 180 kg/sqm. Such a slab will be completely bonded to the frame and will not be able to slip off, or collapse. If the building or structure is a normal single storey, then any normal portal frame or other steel framed building, if the design and construction is competently done, will be resistant to Earthquake loads.

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If it is to have 2 or more stories, more needs to be done to ensure its survival in an earthquake. As with the roof, the floors should be made as light as possible. The first way to do this is to use traditional timber joists and timber or chipboard or plywood flooring. If this is done it is vital that the timber joists are firmly through bolted on the frames to avoid them slipping or being torn off. The frame needs them for stability and the floor must never fall down. A better alternative is to substitute light gauge steel Zeds for the timber joists.

These can span further and are easier to bolt firmly to the framework. Then, floor-boards or tongue-and-groove chipboard can easily be screwed to the Zeds. However in Hotels, Apartment buildings, Offices and the like, concrete floors may be needed. In such cases we should reduce the spans to the spanning capacity of composite decking flooring, and pour reinforced concrete slabs onto our decking. The decking is fixed to the joists, the joists into the main beams, the main beams into the columns and the concrete is poured around all the columns. There is simply no way that such floors can fall off the frame.

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