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Structural Engineering Services: Understanding The Importance of Seismic Safe Structures

08 August 2020

Seismic safe structures design is a vital process of structural analysis while designing a building, which is subjected to earthquake ground motions, such that the facility continues to function and serve its purpose even after an earthquake. Seismic Engineering has evolved over some time, the complexity of analysis which used to contain numerous iterations of formulas have now been automated with advanced tools. These tools result in advantageous outcomes including but not limited to the safe, stable and durable structure along with optimisation of design and cost-efficient structures.

Seismic resistance of a building can be increased by adopting different types of structural systems such as seismic isolation system, energy dissipation system and active control systems etc., which enhances the seismic behaviour of a building by dissipating the lateral forces without damaging the structural elements. The development of new structural systems and devices will proliferate the non-traditional civil engineering materials and techniques. By adopting such advanced system approaches based on dynamic analysis gives a better representation of the behaviour when simulated for seismic conditions.

To further familiarise yourself with structural engineering services, below is an overview of the importance of seismic safe structures.

Stiffness and Strength

When designing earthquake-resistant buildings, safety professionals recommend adequate vertical and lateral stiffness and strength.

Regularity

This characteristic refers to the movement of the building when pushed in lateral directions. Safety professionals and building designers want the building to move equally to dissipate the energy without placing too much force on one side or another. If a building is irregular, then weaknesses will become apparent when the building sways. The weakness will compromise, and the structure will see concentrated damage – which compromises the structure as a whole.

Redundancy

Possibly one of the most important safety characteristics when designing for safety, redundancy ensures there are multiple strategies in place in case one fails. These can potentially add to the building cost, but redundancies prove their worth if/when a natural disaster such as an earthquake occurs. Safety professionals advise equally distributing mass and strength throughout the structure, so strength isn’t solely reliant on one factor.

Foundations

A stable foundation is a major characteristic of building a large structure regardless of natural disaster risks. It is critical for a building’s long-term survival, and a stronger foundation is necessary to resist an earthquake powerful force. Different areas have unique foundational characteristics that define how a structure’s base needs to be reinforced. Professionals have to closely observe how the ground reacts and moves before building. Buildings designed to withstand violent earthquakes have deep foundations and driven piles. To stabilize these drastic measures, the foundations are connected so they move as a unit.

Continuous Load Path

Tying into the stable foundation characteristic, structural and non-structural components of a building need to be interconnected so inertial forces dissipate. Multiple points of strengths and redundancies share the force instead of the quake splitting the foundation apart. This is the continuous load path characteristic that safety professionals, architects, and engineers must remain wary of during design. If the structure is not comprehensively tied together, components will move independently, and collapse will be imminent. The continuous load path is the earthquake’s journey through the building – laterally and vertically. The path must be intact or else it won’t be able to dissipate an earthquake’s powerful shudders.

Earthquakes happen less frequently than other natural disasters but building earthquake-resistant buildings protect against all-natural disasters. Safety professionals keep people’s safety a priority when researching and developing protective strategies for structural integrity. Due to the amount of synergy needed to develop earthquake-resistant building provisions, safety professionals work closely with other fields. They have to appreciate multiple factors they may not be experts in and communicate with other professionals to find the most effective solutions.

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