Seismic Safety and Retrofitting Techniques

Over the past few years, more and more earthquakes are happening around the world.  These earthquakes have caused millions of dollars in damage and have injured or killed people in the process.  Because of this, researchers have conducted more studies about seismic safety and how to make buildings more structurally sound.

Whether these are buildings that already exist or buildings that are being constructed, seismic safety is all about researching how earthquakes behave and how or what buildings are affected.

Through this research, we have become more effective at retrofitting buildings and making them safer during earthquakes.

These are just a few of the most common types:

Reinforced Concrete Jacketing

This type of technique is often used to strengthen columns in a building and freeway overpasses.  The seismic safety company would start by increasing the roughness of the surface, then adding a bonding agent. Down the line, the process is completed by adding steel jackets, concrete, or carbon fiber to increase the strength of the existing column.

Steel Jacketing

Another common technique because of its effectiveness, steel jacketing uses what is essentially a steel cage which encases the columns. The “cage” is then filled with non-shrink grout.

For the past few centuries, steel jacketing was mostly used in European countries and Japan, but the US is also starting to use this technique.

Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composite Jacketing

For deficient structures and buildings, Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composite Jacketing (FRP) is most commonly used.  This technique is a little more revolutionary — because the FRPs are not metallic, this means they won’t corrode.  Ever.  They are also considered the best in terms of strength vs. weight ratio. The strongest type of fiber is made with carbon fibers.

Steel Bracing Systems

A few buildings across the globe have used steel bracing systems as a way to keep their buildings safe. These steel bracing systems aren’t just amazing for earthquakes, but also wind loads too. These bracing systems work well for just about any building, from a school to a high-rise building.

Each of these techniques, as well as other options available, won’t work on every single building type.  It’s going to come down to the type of building, if it’s existing or in the design/construction phase, and the weight of the building.

If you have already have an existing building or you plan on constructing one and you want to know more about seismic safety, what your options are, and how each technique will benefit the structure, contact Saunders Seismic.