Elevate takeoffs for faster bids and increased project success for FREE. See Details Here.

PlanHub’s Q2 Research Reveals Many Opportunities. Register for the Webinar and Learn More

How Earthquake Proof Buildings Are Built

earthquake proof building

Earthquakes can cause devastating damage to homes and buildings, causing countless injuries and even death. Making buildings safer from these disasters is of prime importance in many areas of the world. Earthquake proof construction materials and techniques can be implemented and help prevent property damage and injury. These techniques are based on either strengthening the structure of the building or redirecting or dissipating the seismic waves so they don’t affect the building’s structure.

What is meant by “earthquake proof?”

Buildings are designed to handle the vertical pressures from gravity and the weight of the materials and occupants inside them. They are not, however, designed to withstand the horizontal forces that are placed on them during an earthquake. Earthquake proof buildings must be designed with these horizontal forces in mind. 

The goal of earthquake proofing is to design and construct a building that is able to withstand the ground shaking that occurs during an earthquake, minimizing structural damage and preventing deaths and injuries. Although the term “earthquake proof” is commonly used, a more accurate way to describe this type of construction may be “earthquake resistant,” as no structure can be completely immune from the sudden shaking caused by these phenomena.

Earthquake proof building design

In earthquake prone areas of the world, building codes require that structures meet certain requirements to help protect buildings and their occupants. Many of the techniques below are used to help make buildings more resilient.

Reinforced structure

One of the most common ways to prevent damage and protect buildings and occupants is to provide a reinforced structure that can withstand the horizontal stresses caused by shaking. Shear walls, cross braces, diaphragms, and moment-resisting frames are used to redistribute the energy safely, without major structural damage.

Shear walls are made up of multiple panels and are usually cross braced for extra support. Diaphragms, like a building’s floors, roof, and decks, disperse the energy to the vertical components of the building, which are stronger. Moment frames allow beams and columns to bend while their joints stay rigid, providing flexibility to help keep the structure sound.

Flexible foundation

Relatively new technology and design ideas involve constructing the building’s foundation in such a way so that it is able to vibrate with the motion of the ground while the building itself stays in place. This technology is called base isolation, and it involves constructing a building on top of flexible pads. During an earthquake the base moves and the isolators vibrate while the structure itself remains in place above ground. This helps absorb seismic waves and prevents them from traveling through and damaging the building.

Shock absorbers

Much like the shock absorbers on a car, new technology is installing them in buildings. The technique requires two pieces: absorbers and a pendulum. Piston absorbers are installed on every floor on the beams and columns and they transfer the vibrational energy into heat. Then a large ball is suspended from steel cables that connect to a hydraulic system at the top of the building (this is usually done in skyscrapers). As the building begins to sway, the ball moves in the opposite direction of the horizontal shaking and stabilizes the building.

“Seismic invisibility”

No, this is not some magic out of a book about wizards. New research is looking at the ways buildings can deflect and reroute energy, creating less stress on the structure. This new technique, called the “seismic invisibility cloak,” involves burying 100 concentric plastic and concrete rings at least 3 feet beneath the foundation of the building. When the ground shakes, these rings direct the energy out from the building and dissipate it, leaving the building mostly untouched.

Materials used in earthquake proof buildings

The most important feature of materials used in earthquake proof buildings is ductility. Ductility is the ability of a material to deform without failure. Materials like steel, lumber, and bamboo have high ductility, so they are often used in these types of buildings. Materials like brick and concrete have poor ductility, so they aren’t as good to use in these structures.

In addition, scientists have developed some new metals and plastics that can help make buildings safer during earthquakes. Shape memory metal alloys retain their shape even under high stress, and fiber reinforced plastic wrap can be used to protect structural elements, providing additional strength and ductility.

The latest in earthquake proof building technology

In the last few years science has made some real advancements in earthquake protection technology. From building shock absorbers to spider silk, scientists are leaving no stone unturned in the search for better building materials and techniques.

Base isolators

Base isolation pads serve to separate a building’s structure from its foundation, allowing them both to move independently. During an earthquake, the foundation shifts side to side while the structure above the ground remains in place. The isolating pads, which are made out of steel, rubber, and lead, protect the building from seismic waves, keeping it intact.

Movement dampers

Piston dampers, consisting of piston heads inside a silicone oil filled cylinder, are installed on the beams and columns on each floor. During an earthquake, the vibrational energy is transferred into the pistons, which push against the oil. In this way, the energy is transformed into heat and the force of the vibrations is dissipated.

Mussel fibers and spider silk

We learn so much from Mother Nature, and scientists are looking at different mussel fibers and spider silk for clues to strengthen materials. In particular, they are focusing on the sticky, rigid nature of the fibers of mussels, and the strength-to-size ratio of spider silk. In the near future materials augmented with these natural materials may save lives in earthquake prone areas around the world.

Ductile cementitious composite

This eco-friendly coating could be the key to strengthening existing buildings and making materials like brick and concrete better at resisting horizontal stress. Ductile cementitious composite is a fiber reinforced material with properties similar to steel. Scientists have shown that applying a 10-millimeter-thick layer of this material to interior walls protected them from damage during a 9.0-magnitude simulated earthquake.

With new materials and technologies, scientists and engineers hope to provide more protection for those living in earthquake prone areas. These materials and techniques will become even more valuable as we run out of bare land and continue to build taller and taller buildings. 

Be the first to know

PlanHub insights, resources, and news, sent directly to your inbox.

    planhub
    planhub icon

    Data and Deep Insights

    We make construction smarter by connecting with the right people, at the right time, for the right project.

    With our technology and data intelligence, we empower construction professionals to easily build the right business relationships, streamline pre construction processes, and make efficient decisions.

    From competitive intelligence in each project allowing you to know how many other contractors are downloading or bidding to insights as to contractors’ performance, we provide the data you need to lead your business to success.

    By providing faster, simpler, and unmatched data insights in each step of the pre construction process, PlanHub helps your business lay a strong foundation for the success of the rest of the construction process.

    planhub icon

    Bid Leveler & Proposal builder

    Comparing bids to one another has never been easier. Users can now see bids side by side, compare bid amounts, and review subcontractors’ certifications and qualifications all in one place.

    Bid Leveler’s apples-to-apples approach allows you to easily drill down and see detailed, easy-to-scan cost breakdowns. Indicate bid preference, hide bids that don’t meet your needs, and request needed information from subs.

    planhub icon

    Full Bid Management

    From the initial decision to pursue a project to the final bid submission and follow up, bid management plays a central role in pre construction.

    Effectively managed bids during the preconstruction phase set the stage for a successful project execution and satisfied clients.

    Streamline bid management from project posting to estimating, bidding, and awarding in one place with easy project posting, project-contractor automatic matching based on trades, location, and qualification with PlanHub.

    Use bid planner, bid builder, bid leveler, and award tools to always know what’s going on with each project and bid.

    planhub icon

    Estimation and TakeOff

    Let’s face it—time is money. And the more time it takes to perform takeoffs and submit bids, the more you risk losing out on valuable revenue opportunities. Manual methods and locally installed desktop software slow your takeoff process, and many digital solutions currently on the market can be overly complex and not user-friendly. 

    Build faster takeoffs, get more bids out the door, and win more projects. Forget pen and paper, outdated desktop software, and overly complicated digital takeoff solutions. PlanHub’s easy-to-use Takeoff tool helps you and your team build accurate takeoffs faster, minimize errors and material waste, and win more projects that boost your business growth. Performing your takeoffs with PlanHub allows you to:

    • Streamline and integrate your process: Perform your takeoffs in the same platform you use to manage your network and bids.
    • Avoid costly estimating errors: Get better accuracy with digital tools instead of traditional, mistake-prone pen and paper.
    • Collaborate easily: Share and work with your team, no matter where you—or they—are located.
    • Submit more bids and win more projects: Get quality bids in front of general contractors faster and get ahead of your competition.
    planhub
    planhub icon

    Document Management

    Organize, store, and manage various documents, blueprints, drawings and other information related to projects before the actual construction phase begins.

    This phase is crucial for setting the foundation of a successful construction project, and effective document management plays a significant role in ensuring that all necessary information is accessible, accurate, and up-to-date to all interested parties.

    Access, review, work on, and share large complex documents in one platform with amazing speed. From project definition, drawing management, takeoff, estimation, bid management, and contracts, everything happens in PlanHub.

    planhub crm
    planhub icon

    CRM

    Be part of a construction professionals’ ecosystem that enhances collaboration, streamlines project management, and fosters smart relationships between companies, construction professionals, and projects.

    Enjoy seamless communication, build strong relationships, and streamlines project management. By leveraging the power of connections and collaboration, we enhance efficiency, save time and resources, and drive collective growth in the industry.

    planhub network
    planhub icon

    1M+ pre-qualified network

    PlanHub is the leading platform that connects companies, construction professionals, and projects in the pre-construction industry, focusing on building and developing meaningful relationships to enhance efficiency and productivity.

    We have integrated general contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers’ workflows in one platform to simplify the complex back and forth usually present in preconstruction. By allowing all interactions to be done through PlanHub, tracking projects and relationships is much easier, saving contractors and material suppliers time and money. Interactions in the platform are tagged and measured to provide insights to users.

    General contractors create bid packages that are shared in PlanHub as projects. They can include templatized lists of all CSI cost items as part of the new Baseline feature. Baseline allows for faster and more accurate bid requests, facilitates homogenization of subcontractors’ bids, and simplifies the comparison of incoming bids.

    Subcontractors are automatically matched with relevant projects based on their profile, preferences, and pre-qualification information saving hours of research to both sides. They can review project details, documentation, and blueprints.

    planhub icon

    High-quality projects

    Your one-stop job for qualified hard-to-find private project leads in varying stages like pre-planning, bidding, etc., and across different geographies, zip codes, or distance to your office.

    Projects include plans, specifications, bid dates, and other relevant project information.

    You can segment project leads by type of project, status, project building use, trades and sub trades, or create your own list of keywords — and be notified when one of them is found in a posted project’s documentation or plans.

    We make it simple to find projects that match your business — and make sure you are notified right away.

    				
    					<script src='https://planhub.com/wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery.min.js' id='jquery-core-js'></script>
    <script charset="utf-8" type="text/javascript" src="//js.hsforms.net/forms/embed/v2.js"></script>
    <script>
      hbspt.forms.create({
        region: "na1",
        portalId: "7063061",
        formId: "ced7254f-5c61-49b9-9ce0-6f870b79a958"
      });
    </script>
    				
    			

    Get the report!

    From the very beginning, PlanHub has been a place where people can do meaningful work and build strong relationships.

    Come grow with us! We’re building innovative technologies that simplify preconstruction for everyone.

    Expand your network and connect with general contractors, subcontractors, owners, architects, and suppliers – not to mention thousands of relevant projects at your fingertips.

    Generate relevant leads, faster and with precision. With access to private, hard-to-find projects, you can connect with architects and owners on projects still in the pre-design and design stages.

    PlanHub’s advanced suite of bid management tools allows you to increase productivity, identify relevant projects using data, build bids with Takeoff, and manage bids through the entire process.

    Create quicker, improved takeoffs effortlessly. PlanHub’s Takeoff Core aids your team in accurate, faster estimates, minimizing errors, and driving business growth.

    Expand your network and connect with general contractors, subcontractors, owners, architects, and suppliers – not to mention thousands of relevant projects at your fingertips.

    Generate relevant leads, faster and with precision. With access to private, hard-to-find projects, you can connect with architects and owners on projects still in the pre-design and design stages.

    PlanHub’s advanced suite of bid management tools allows you to increase productivity, identify relevant projects using data, build bids with Takeoff, and manage bids through the entire process.