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Affordable Earthequake Resistant

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  Earthquake Resistant Building Construction - 1 A short Research Paper on Affordable Solution for Earthquake Resistant Building Construction in Haiti  by Dawang Sherpa Submitted to Southern Alberta Institute of Technology-SAIT Calgary, Alberta February 24, 2010  Earthquake Resistant Building Construction - 2 Table of Contents  1.   Introduction 2.   Some Concepts on Earthquake Resistant Construction 2.1   Earthquake Casualties 2.2   Reasons for Buildings’ Failure during Earthquake 2.3   Earthquake-Resistant Building Technologies 3.   Low Cost Earthquake Resistant Building Technology and Practices 3.1   Adobe Buildings with Earthquake Resistant Components 3.2   Rice Straw/Wheat Straw Buildings 3.3   Bamboo & Wooden Houses 3.4   Masonry Buildings with Earthquake-Resistant Components 3.5   Other Practices 4.   Recommendations 5.   Conclusion References  Earthquake Resistant Building Construction - 3 1.0 Introduction On January 10, 2010, an earthquake of 7.0 M magnitude struck Haiti, killing more than 230,000 people. At least 300,000 Haitians were injured and around 1.5 million people  became homeless (BBC News: One Minute World News, Americas, 2010). However, in October of 1989, the same magnitude of earthquake in San Francisco killed only 62 people and injured 3757 people (San Francisco Earthquake History 1915-1989). Why did Haiti suffer so much devastation and lost so many of its innocent citizens? (Joyce, 2010) states, “….buildings were barely built to engineering standards and were hopelessly fragile in the grip of such a strong quake.’’   It is clear that there is higher probability for earthquake occurrences in Haiti because it lies on the earthquake zone just above the fault of North American Plate and the Caribbean Plate. The potential for a major earthquake at any given time was always in Haiti. One of the major reasons for such an overwhelming loss of life and property in Haiti is due to inappropriate construction, which lacked earthquake proof designs. Most of the buildings in Haiti were constructed with whatever materials were available, and as the ground shook the un-reinforced masonry and insufficiently constructed frame structures resulted in collapse of  buildings leading to unimaginable fatalities. One of the major reasons for such an overwhelming loss of life and property in Haiti is inappropriate construction, which lacked earthquake proof designs. Now, there are many reliable high-tech practices such as ground isolation, damping of the seismic forces, retro-fittings, and active controls for seismic resistant construction used in developed cities. Unfortunately, constructing earthquake-proof building by these techniques is a challenging task for poor countries like Haiti because they require highly technical and skilled workforce,  Earthquake Resistant Building Construction - 4 and are expensive as well. A poor country such as Haiti has neither sufficient financial resources nor the skilled workforce, and hence cannot benefit with those practices in spite of the availability of reliable technologies. The selection of affordable and safer construction technology is therefore the only option to overcome these challenges to provide safety to  people in poor countries such as Haiti. The purpose of this research paper is to present some cost effective solutions for constructing seismic resistant houses in developing countries like Haiti. The paper, first, explores and discuses some of the cost-effective housing construction models that are in  practice in different parts of the world. Next, the paper identifies techniques and methods for making these buildings earthquake resistant. And, finally, it recommends some affordable construction methods that are earthquake resistant which might be applicable for cheaper and safer construction. 2.0   Some Concepts on Earthquake Resistant Construction 2.1 Earthquake Casualties Earthquake is a frequent phenomenon in areas called ‘earthquake zones.’ Earthquakes may create various kinds of casualties like loss of life and damage of property depending upon its magnitude; causalities could range from small property damage to landslides and long range of liquefaction. Secondary effects like fire; blockage on services such as water supply, electricity and transportation; and communication disruption are sometimes even more disastrous. Manmade infrastructures are however the major contributor of casualties during earthquake devastations. These structures therefore should be carefully designed and constructed.
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