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Friday, 17 February 2012

Engineers on the Canterbury earthquakes and building earthquake-resilient cities

The Science Media Centre blog has a Q&A session with earthquake engineering specialists.

The topics covered are:
  • What is an earthquake-prone building?
  • How do they vary in terms of factors causing their “prone-ness”?
  • In the wake of the quakes and the current commission, can we expect to see the building code or enforcement changed?
  • What possible areas of the code might be focused on in future review of the legislation?
  • Why does it take so long to analyse a building? What does it involve?
  • What are some of the ways a building which is earthquake prone can be brought up to a higher standard?
  • To what extent will the strong ground motions recorded in the Christchurch earthquakes lead to changes in New Zealand’s building code?
  • Has enough been learned in engineering terms to reduce the damage that liquefaction and lateral spreading does to foundations of structures?
  • And if sea levels rise 2m over the current century, will the higher water table increase the risks of liquefaction in Christchurch or Wellington?
  • Should households pay insurance premiums based on the perceived seismic risk of their site, the anticipated performance of their house design, and the risk that the suburb around them may be abandoned even if their specific house survives?
  • Should homeowners be rebuilding to a standard which will enable their homes to perform much better in the next big quake – such as a major shake on the Alpine Fault – rather than simply suffering exactly the same damage all over again?
The blog is here

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