Constructing earthquake-resistant structures

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By Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis
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Devastating earthquakes are a global phenomenon, as anyone in Nepal, Japan, or Indonesia can tell you. The consequences can be crushing: human lives are lost and confusion in everyday life and stagnation of economic activities occur. Now, a new ISO standard will help reduce the loss of life by preventing the collapse of buildings when disaster strikes.

Compared to disasters like floods, earthquakes have long “return periods”; they only occur once every so often. But when they do, they happen suddenly and with little warning and their impact is often significant. When earthquakes strike there is not enough time to evacuate people or protect structures and belongings. Hence, risk needs to be mitigated and managed beforehand

To combat earthquake destruction, ISO 16711:2015, Seismic assessment and retrofit of concrete structures, is intended to modify existing structures to be as quake-proof as possible. It will help engineers and architects conduct a seismic assessment and seismic retrofit work, and will smooth social decision making to carry out seismic retrofit

Seismic assessments and retrofitting of concrete address critical structural vulnerabilities that could lead to a sudden failure when a large earthquake disaster happens. These assessments are used to prevent structural collapse or overturning during major earthquakes and thereby protect human life.

Prof. Tamon Ueda, Chair of ISO/TC 71/SC 7, encourages its use, saying, “The earthquake in Haiti was a reminder: billions of people live in houses that can't stand shaking. Yet safer ones can be built using ISO 16711 by applying a few general principles. I recommend the new standard to all architects and engineers as a tool to minimize the damage when a large earthquake disaster happens.”

The new ISO 16711 provides frameworks and principles for methods of detailed seismic assessment and judgment, seismic retrofit plan and design, and retrofit execution, of existing reinforced concrete structures before the occurrence of a severe earthquake and structures are damaged beyond repair

It is applicable to reinforced concrete structures and pre-stressed concrete structures that have been designed on the basis of the structural design criteria set in a specific country or region. It is not applicable to either unreinforced concrete structures or masonry structures.

ISO 16711 was developed by ISO/TC 71, Concrete, reinforced concrete and pre-stressed concrete, Subcommittee SC 7, Maintenance and repair of concrete structures, whose secretariat is held by the ISO member for the Republic of Korea (KATS).

ISO 16711 can be bought from your national ISO member through the ISO Store.

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Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis

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