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Are buildings designed for seismic performance?

June 2019
A survey reported by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has found that in the past 25 years, over 25,000 human fatalities were caused primarily by the collapse of buildings during earthquakes (2015). Reports also indicate that the observed performance of reinforced concrete (RC) buildings is highly unsatisfactory. While a well-designed RC building should be able to withstand an earthquake of up to 7.5 on the Richter scale, during the 2001 Bhuj earthquake in Gujarat, RC buildings collapsed from an earthquake of just 6 on the Richter scale.

According to Dr Paresh Shah, Professor & Dean, Faculty of Technology, CEPT University, “Many designers do not have enough expertise for earthquake-resistant design or ductile detailing of structures; so, their designed structures may be unsafe in case of an earthquake of larger magnitude.”

And Dr Pramod Kumar Gupta, Professor, Structural Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT-Roorkee, says, “We have seen the performance of different buildings constructed at different places over the past 100 years. The intensity of earthquakes at different places is not same.”

SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN