Modern architectural trends in Pakistan are more inclined towards the construction of smart residential and commercial buildings which other than carrying decorative and functional elements also provide safety and comfort. The factor of safety involves various aspects such as fireproofing, natural disaster backup, power breakage and more, but the most obvious one is related to seismic-resistant construction.
The focus towards the security aspect is seen in the wake of various natural disastrous incidents in Pakistan’s history, of which the most prominent one is the earthquake of Oct, 8, 2005, which demolished hundreds of residential and commercial buildings in the affected areas of Marghala Hills. This cataclysmic earthquake of 7.6 Richter scale rocked the earth, demolishing the houses and plazas into smoke, the live example of which was a 10-storey apartment in Islamabad, which was all destroyed just in a matter of minutes.
Thus, keeping this scenario, the architectural industry of the country has started emphasizing on the safer construction in Pakistan.
Why seismic-resistant construction is emphasized more for plazas and commercial buildings than residential ones?
Plazas are multistory-buildings constructed with commercial purpose which encompass lots of shops, outlets, offices restaurants and so on; therefore, here the chances of causalities and damages are more noteworthy. Due to load of multiple stories, the buildings become vulnerable to earthquake shocks. The types of earthquakes vary with respect to the frequency level of shock waves, based on which the construction is done in a way that the building survives and sustains its foundation. Due to the extreme case of the earthquake the foundation of buildings are made moveable because if the ground floor of a building is attached firmly with the base, it can break away as a result of a shock.
How Does Earthquake Destroy the Buildings?
Commonly buildings are constructed in a way that these support vertical loads to provide support to the walls, roof, pillars or any other thing. Whereas earthquake exerts lateral or sideways pressure to a building structure, as a result of which there is seen a complete collapse. The effects of earthquake are more significant in the buildings which are built from a used unenforced brick and concrete walls. The walls are constructed by the stacking up of bricks which are joined together with the help of concrete. The roof is laid horizontally on these walls, putting the weight of the roof directly straight down through the walls to the foundation. Unfortunately, when these buildings are hit by lateral seismic-shocks, the walls tump-over and roof falls down straightway.
Benefit of Having an Earthquake Proof Building
Pakistan has not been the only victim of seismic shocks; rather there are multiple other countries around the globe, where there have been witnessed the most dangerous aftereffects of this natural catastrophe. For decades and centuries the engineers across the globe as well as in Pakistan had started working on the issue and in some countries there has been seen a tremendous improvement in the situation. For instance – an earthquake of 8.8 Richter scale in Chile in 2010 killed more than 700 people; whereas a comparatively mild seismic-incident of 7.0 magnitude killed more than 200, 000 in Haiti.
The reason behind these varying causalities and damages in both the areas is the use of earthquake proof building constructions and technologies. In Chile, the buildings are modern and are constructed keeping the different seismic shocks in view, which was the reason that despite being hit by the earthquake of more magnitude, the causalities and damages here were not high.
Besides, the above mentioned incidents, there are various other example in the world’s history from where you can better understand the difference an earthquake building makes.
How to Overcome the Earthquake’s Affect?
The long years of efforts have resulted in positive and effective methods in nullifying the effects of seismic shocks. There have been devised various methods and techniques, according to the types of varying seismic shock waves. Techniques like ‘Base Isolation’ have long been used in the history to make the residential as well as commercial buildings more resistant to earthquakes. However, with the passage of time there have been seen different changes and improvements in the method to generate more effective results in curing the earthquake’s aftereffects.
Moreover, the structures and the foundations of the buildings need to be made resistant to sideways pressure. Usually, earthquake has more adverse effects on the buildings with high height due to multi-storey structures which together put load on the ground floor walls. Therefore, the base wall should be made while using the special earthquake proof construction standards.
Now, the experts in Pakistan and all around the globe are putting in consistent efforts by using the latest techniques and technologies to carve out the ways of combating earthquake’s damaging effects.
Nabeel Abbas is an experienced author, having more than 9 years of experience under his belt, is currently contributing as a senior author for Amer Adnan Associates (http://www.ameradnan.com).