How to Ensure a Building is Earthquake Safe

How to Ensure a Building is Earthquake Safe

An earthquake refers to the shaking of the earth’s surface, which is caused by seismic waves. Earthquakes can occur anywhere in the United States. However, areas such as Alaska, New England, California, Tennessee, and Washington are more prone to earthquakes. Homeowners should put extra measures to ensure that homes and buildings avert damages that may occur in the event of an earthquake. Earthquake-proof structures should consider the various features that affect their integrity. These characteristics include load path, stiffness, redundancy, and strength. The following are ways of ensuring that your building is earthquake safe.

Stiffness of Earthquake-Resistant Buildings

This is the first step in ensuring that the building is earthquake-safe, and no other feature should come before this feature. Professionals recommend lateral stiffness and strength when constructing an earthquake-proof building. Even though it may seem easier to design and build a vertically stiff structure, ensuring that the building can move from one side to another when hit by an earthquake may be challenging.

Regularity is one of the critical features of an earthquake-resistant structure. This characteristic is linked to lateral stiffness. This ensures equal dissipation of energy across the floor pan when the structure is shaken in an earthquake.

Firm Foundation

Ensuring that your foundation is firm and will support your building is crucial when designing a building that is earthquake safe. Your building base should be stable, and if you are building in areas that are prone to earthquakes, you should add some reinforcement to the structure. These areas tend to have a softer ground material that easily caves and move during vibration or heavy storms.

There are various ways in which homeowners can ensure that the foundation of the building is secured. One of the ways is by drilling the bedrock using piles. Trusses and damping can also be used to secure and stabilize buildings during a cyclone. Damping involves erecting dampers at the foundation to reduce the speed and energy of waves that hit a building during an earthquake. Earthquakes can damage your roof and also harm the inhabitants of the buildings. Brooklyn commercial roofing experts can help you install roofs that can withstand natural disasters. Homeowners and commercial buildings need quality roofing materials and guaranteed longevity.

Trusses are used in the foundation as they reduce the force of an earthquake by ensuring that the weight of the building is evenly spread on the foundation. Dampers and trusses are popular in earthquake-resistant structures because of their ability to hold structures together during natural disasters.

Materials Used

The materials used in constructing earthquake-resistant buildings should be able to withstand the rapid shaking of the ground. Most materials such as bricks can be susceptible to the movements caused by earthquakes. The most commonly used materials in earthquake-resistant structures include reinforced concrete, wood, and structured steel.

Steel has been used over the years in the construction of earthquake-resistant structures. This is primarily due to its ability to withstand massive movement and stress. Structural steel is used in the construction of skyscrapers that are earthquake-resistant because it is ductile. Bamboo and wood are also ductile, but they are mostly used to construct smaller structures such as sheds and houses. For the walls of the building usually, shear walls are a useful building technology that helps to transfer earthquake forces.

A reinforced concrete simply refers to concrete that has been reinforced with steel bars. This increases the ductility of the steel, which in its natural state, has a lower ductility. Structural steel is used together with reinforced steel to make cyclone-resistant structures.


Employing more than one strategy to ensure that the building is earthquake-safe is paramount. This technique has proven its worth when an earthquake occurs, although it can potentially increase the cost of building and designing. It is also advisable that you distribute the strength and weight equally throughout the structure to ensure that the strength of the structure is not dependent on only one factor.

An earthquake of any magnitude can be catastrophic to communities and the nation at large. Although professionals have learned how to anticipate natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes, earthquakes still occur unexpectedly. You should ensure that buildings are inspected periodically by certified professionals to check for cracks and other areas that may require repairs.


Although, Earthquakes don’t occur very frequently especially in most states in the U.S or places around the world. You could never be too safe, as there have been many dangerously strong earthquakes that have destroyed millions of homes and many cities. So ensuring you are keeping yourself and your loved ones safe is worth the preparation. So make sure you are paying attention to the stiffness of the building when purchasing a home or looking to rent. Also investing into a firm foundation of the building, if you are thinking of building your own home this is crucial. Purchase the best materials, build your home with materials that will be resistant and strong. The last strategy is hiring a professional to give you the thumbs up on your building being earthquake safe, and safe enough to hold an earthquake of a strong magnitude. These concerns may not come across to those purchasing a home or finding a new place to rent but when the situation approaches you can feel at peace that you have ensured the safest of your family.

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