Lately we have seen a lot of news about earthquakes. What happened in Haiti was tragic and unexpected. What was not unexpected was the generosity of the American People who rushed in to help, providing millions of dollars worth of monetary aid, food and assistance.
I have never experienced an earthquake, even though I did work in Los Angeles for a while. I mentioned to the locals in L.A. that I’d like to experience an earthquake one day. My colleagues just laughed at me and said, “No you don’t, really.” Coincidentally, the day I left to return home to Arlington, TX, a fair-sized earthquake hit the L.A. area. I just barely missed the experience due to being on an airplane somewhere over New Mexico. Phew!
Having spent some time reviewing construction drawings in L.A., I understand the implications of designing buildings to survive an earthquake. Concrete columns, which in Texas would have been about 15” in diameter, are instead so large one could not reach around them with both arms. Masonry structures are discouraged in an earthquake because it will just simply shake apart. The only way to use masonry is to reinforce it with concrete, steel or some other more stable material. Steel works well because it flexes, but in a high-rise structure, you must consider that a building that is allowed to sway during an earthquake can make the occupants sick in a simple windstorm.
Critical Environment Construction™ takes many different forms. As is the case with most types of CEC™, to make a building truly earthquake-resistant one must be able to adopt a non-traditional view of design.
Joseph Bramlage - Director of Marketing