Earthquakes are one of the most devastating natural events and can cause severe damage to buildings and houses alike. While modern buildings are often constructed up to code and can withstand earthquakes, the same can’t be said for older properties.
Seismic retrofitting is a way to upgrade buildings and existing structures to make them more resistant to earthquakes. Allied Construction Services, your general construction services expert, discusses this more.
Beyond the basic definition of seismic retrofitting, this process modifies existing structures to make them more resilient to seismic activity. This goes beyond earthquakes and also includes retrofitting against ground motion and erosion.
Additionally, seismic retrofitting also updates the building or structure against other natural hazards; namely, cyclones, tornadoes and thunderstorms.
Common Retrofitting Techniques
There are many ways to retrofit a building or house against seismic activity and we’ll list three of the most popular.
The first method involves adding new shear walls. This is commonly used to retrofit buildings with non-ductile reinforced concrete. These are usually cast or precast elements that are placed at the exterior of the building.
The second method is by adding steel bracings. This is the preferred method for small commercial properties and houses due to higher strength and stiffness and an opening which provides additional natural light.
Because this method requires less work, it doesn’t add any extra weight to the building and can be done in conjunction with other preventive additions, such as drainage and installation of a waterproofing system.
Jacketing is another seismic retrofitting method and is commonly used on buildings supported by columns. It increases concrete confinement, shear strength and flexural strength. The latter is an important trait as it allows buildings to withstand seismic stress. There are many jacketing types available, with the most common being steel jacket, reinforced concrete and Fibre Reinforced Polymer Composite Jackets.
Seismic retrofitting requires a bit of research and knowledge of your local area. We recommend you work with an experienced contractor, such as Allied Construction Services, to help you decide which method is best for your property.
We offer complete building maintenance services. Call us today at (925) 724-2324 to learn more. We offer general construction services in Oakland, CA.