Adopting Seismic Safety for Buildings
Understanding seismic safety is important for building owners so that they can avoid injuries and litigation in the event of an earthquake. Newer buildings are designed for Life Safety, not building sustainability. So all buildings could possibly use a retrofit, old buildings built prior to the mid-eighties typically do not have as much resistance. Here are important points to remember about seismic safety.
Promoting a Safe Workplace
The most vulnerable buildings that could be destroyed by an earthquake are those constructed prior to 1985. These buildings were built prior to the advent of seismic retrofit techniques and typically lack the structural support systems now found in 21st century construction. Building owners of old structures can be held liable if it can be proven they were aware of building weaknesses prior to a disaster that causes injuries.
The concept of a safe workplace falls under the umbrella of corporate social responsibility (CSR), an emerging area of corporate performance measurement expressed in annual reports separate from earnings reports. Investors now use these reports to determine a company’s future liabilities, which can weigh heavily in making investment decisions.
Part of adopting a safe work environment is that the employer needs to post caution and safety signs. If the facility is in an earthquake zone there should be such warning signs posted, even in buildings that have undergone renovation.
An owner of an old building should seriously consider investing in a seismic retrofit solution so that they can promote safety as part of the company’s business identity. In other words, building safety should be such a top priority that its owner will make sure its occupants do not have to worry about major structural damage from a disaster.
Rise of Better Engineering
While industrialization has gone on for over a century, it wasn’t until the mid-eighties that the construction industry began to adopt principals that provide resistance to seismic activity. Better building strategies allow for stronger connections between structural elements. Roofing and walls are now connected better with continuity ties. Most modern buildings are designed to withstand a high magnitude earthquake.
Due to the available knowledge of seismic safety, it’s important for building owners to realize they have a responsibility to workers and visitors to ensure the building is built to last through disasters. Deciding on a seismic retrofit will reduce the odds of injuries and litigation. You will have peace of mind knowing you’ve made the building as safe as possible.
For an evaluation of your building and a quote on a structural seismic retrofit, contact Saunders Seismic today.