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Submitted to: Submitted by:

Ramesh Khatri Palash Mehta

Baldev Ram Mirdha Institute of Technology,



We express our sincere thanks to Ramesh Khatri sir for his support and
guidance for doing the project.
We express our indebtness and gratitute to our guide, for his guidance and
care taken by him in helping us to complete the project work successfully.
We express our deep gratitude for his valuable suggestions and guidance
rendered in giving shape and coherence to this endeavor. We are also
thankful to his team members for their support and guidance throughout
the period of project.


Earthquakes constitute one of the greatest hazards of life and property on the
earth. Due to suddenness of their occurrence, they are least understood and most
dreaded. The earthquake resistant construction is considered to be very
important to mitigate their effects. This paper presents the brief essentials of
earthquake resistant construction and a few techniques to improve the resistance
of building and building materials to earthquake forces, economically.

Earthquake-resistant design of structures has grown into a true multi-

disciplinary field of engineering wherein many exciting developments are
possible in the near future. Most notable among these are: (a) a complete
probabilistic analysis and design approach; (b) performance-based design codes;
(c) multiple annual probability hazard maps for response spectral accelerations
and peak ground accelerations with better characterization of site soils,
topography, near-field effects; (d) new structural systems and devices using
non-traditional civil engineering materials and techniques; and (e) new refined
analytical tools for reliable prediction of structural response, including
nonlinearity, strength and stiffness degradation due to cyclic loads, geometry
effects and more importantly, effects of soilstructure interaction. Some
significant developments that the coming years will witness are discussed in this

1. Acknowledgement
2. Abstract
3. Introduction
4. How Earthquake Resistent Building Is Diferent?
5. Objectives
6. Effect Of Earthquake On Reinforced Concrete Buildings
7. Seismic Design Philosophy
8. Seismic Actions
7.1. Characteristics of Earthquake Motion
9. Remedial Measures To Minimise The Losses Due To Earthquakes
10.Earthquake Resistant Building Construction With Reinforced Hollow
Concrete Block (Rhcbm)
11.Various methodologies
 Diaphragms
 Cross bracing and shear walls
 Moment Resisting Frames
 Base Isolation
 Active Mass Damping
12.Mid-Level Isolation
13.Earthquake Resistance Using Slurry Infiltrated Mat Concrete (Simcon)
14.Traditional Earthquake Resistant Housing


An earthquake is the vibration, sometimes violent to the earth’s surface that

follows a release of energy in the earth’s crust. This energy can be generated by
a sudden dislocation of segments of the crust, by a volcanic eruption or even by
a manmade explosion. The dislocation of the crust causes most destructive
earthquakes. The crust may first bend and then the stresses exceed the strength
of rocks, they break. In the process of breaking, vibrations called seismic waves
are generated. These waves travel outward from the source of the earthquake
along the surface and through the earth at varying speeds depending on the
material through which they move. These waves can cause disasters on the
earth’s surface.
No structure on the planet can be constructed 100% earthquake proof; only its
resistance to earthquake can be increased. Treatment is required to be given
depending on the zone in which the particular site is located. Earthquake
occurred in the recent past have raised various issues and have forced us to
think about the disaster management. It has become essential to think right from
planning stage to completion stage of a structure to avoid failure or to minimize
the loss of property. Not only this, once the earthquake has occurred and
disaster has taken place; how to use the debris to construct economical houses
using this waste material without affecting their structural stability.


Since the magnitude of a future earthquake and shaking intensity expected at a

particular site cannot be estimated with a reasonable accuracy, the seismic
forces are difficult to quantify for the purposes of design. Further, the actual
forces that can be generated in the structure during an earthquake are very large
and designing the structure to respond elastically against these forces make it
too expensive.
Therefore, in the earthquake resistant design post yield inelastic behavior is
usually relied upon to dissipate the input seismic energy. Thus the design forces
of earthquakes may be only a fraction of maximum (probable) forces generated
if the structure is to remain elastic during the earthquake. For instance, the
design seismic for buildings may at times be as low as one tenths of the
maximum elastic seismic force. Thus, the earthquake resistant construction and
design does not aim to achieve a structure that will not get damaged in a strong
earthquake having low probability of occurrence; it aims to have a structure that
will perform appropriately and without collapse in the event of such a shaking.
Ductility is the capacity of the structure to undergo deformation beyond yield
without loosing much of its load carrying capacity. Higher is the ductility of the
structure; more is the reduction possible in its design seismic force over what
one gets for linear elastic response. Ensuring ductility in a structure is a major
concern in a seismic construction.

5. Objectives
• Buildings are designed to withstand vertical forces. If earthquakes only
moved the ground vertically, buildings might suffer little damage because
all structures are designed to withstand vertical forces associated with
• But the rolling waves of an earthquake exert extreme horizontal forces on
standing structures.
• These forces cause lateral accelerations, which scientists measure as G-
– A magnitude-6.7-quake, for example, can produce an acceleration
of 1 G and a peak velocity of 40 inches (102 centimeters) per
second. Such a sudden movement to the side (almost as if someone
violently shoved you) creates enormous stresses for a building's
structural elements, including beams, columns, walls and floors, as
well as the connectors that hold these elements together. If those
stresses are large enough, the building can collapse or suffer
crippling damage.

• Before a major construction project begins, engineers must first evaluate
the seismic activity of the building site. In the U.S., they have access to a
resource to aid in this process -- National Seismic Hazard Maps
prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
• In high-hazard areas, engineers and architects must adhere to more
rigorous standards when designing buildings, bridges and highways to
make sure these structures withstand earthquake shaking.
• Once engineers determine the seismic risks of a site, they must propose
an appropriate building design. In general, they avoid irregular or
asymmetrical designs at all costs.
• Seismic engineers prefer to keep buildings symmetrical so that forces are
distributed equally throughout the structure.

In recent times, reinforced concrete buildings have become common in India.
A typical RC building is made of horizontal members (beams and slabs) and
vertical members (columns and walls) and supported by foundations that rest on
the ground. The system consisting of RC columns and connecting beams is
called a RC frame.

The RC frame participates in resisting earthquake forces. Earthquake shaking

generates inertia forces in the building, which are proportional to the building
mass. Since most of the building mass is present at the floor levels, earthquake
induced inertia forces primarily develop at the floor levels. These forces travel
downward through slabs to beams, beams to columns and walls and then to
foundations from where they are dispersed to the ground. As the inertia forces
accumulate downward from the top of the building (as shown in fig3.1) , the
columns and walls at the lower storey experience higher earthquake induced
forces and are therefore designed to be stronger than the storey above.

Roles of floor slabs and masonry walls:

Floor slabs are horizontal like elements, which facilitates functional use of
buildings. Usually, beams and slabs at one storey level are cast together. In
residential multistoried buildings, the thickness of slab is only about 110mm-
150mm. when beams bend in vertical direction during earthquakes, these thin
slabs bend along with them. When beams move in horizontal direction, the slab
usually forces the beams to move together with it.

In most of the buildings, the geometric distortion of the slab is negligible in the
horizontal plane; the behavior is known as rigid diaphragm action. After
columns and floors in a RC building are cast and the concrete hardens, vertical
spaces between columns and floors are usually filled in with masonry walls to
demarcate a floor area into functional spaces. Normally, these masonry walls
are called infill walls, are not connected to surrounding RC beams and
columns. When the columns receive horizontal forces at floor levels, they try to
move in the horizontal direction, but masonry wall tend to resist this movement.
Due to their heavy weight and thickness, these walls develop cracks once their
ability to carry horizontal load is exceeded. Thus, infill walls act like sacrificial
fuses in the buildings, they develop crack under severe ground shaking but help
share the load the load of beams and columns until cracking.
Strength hierarchy:
For a building to remain safe during earthquake shaking columns (which
receive forces from beams) should be stronger than beams and foundations
(which receive forces from columns) should be stronger than columns. Further
the connections between beams and columns, columns and foundations should
not fail so that beams can safely transfer forces to columns and columns to
When this strategy is adopted in the design, damage is likely to occur first in
beams. When beams are detailed properly to have large ductility, the building as
a whole can deform by large amounts despite progressive damage caused due to
consequent yielding of beams.

If columns are made weaker, localized damage can lead to the collapse of
building, although columns at storey above remain almost undamaged.

Severity of ground shaking at a given location during earthquake can be minor,
moderate and strong. Relatively speaking, minor shaking occurs frequently;
moderate shaking occasionally and strong shaking rarely. For instance, on
average annually about 800 earthquakes of magnitude 5.0-5.9 occurs in the
world, while the number is only 18 for the magnitude ranges 7.0-7.9. Since it
costs money to provide additional earthquake safety in buildings, a conflict
arises ‘should we do away with the design of buildings for earthquake effects?
Or should we design the building to be earthquake proof wherein there is no
damage during strong but rare earthquake shaking. Clearly the formal approach
can lead to a major disaster and second approach is too expensive. Hence the
design philosophy should lie somewhere in between two extremes.
Earthquake resistant building:
The engineers do not attempt to make earthquake proof buildings that will not
get damaged even during the rare but strong earthquake; such buildings will be
too robust and also too expensive. Instead, engineering intention is to make
buildings earthquake resistant, such building resists the effects of ground
shaking, although they may get damaged severely but would not collapse during
the strong earthquake. Thus, safety of peoples and contents is assured in
earthquake resistant buildings and thereby, a disaster is avoided. This is a major
objective of seismic design codes through the world.

Earthquake design philosophy:

The earthquake design philosophy may be summarized as follows:
· Under minor, but frequent shaking, the main members of the building that
carry vertical and horizontal forces should not be damaged; however the
building parts that do not carry load may sustain repairable damage.
· Under moderate but occasional shaking, the main member may sustain
repairable damage, but the other parts of the building may be damaged such that
they may even have to be replaced after the earthquake.
· Under strong but rare shaking, may sustain severe (even irreparable) damage,
but the building should not collapse.

Thus after minor shaking, the building will be operational within a short time
and repair cost will be small and after moderate shaking, the building will be
operational once the repair and strengthening of the damaged main members is
completed. But, after a strong earthquake, the building may become
disfunctional for further use, but will stand so that people can be evacuated and
property recovered.
The consequences of damage have to be kept in view in the design philosophy.
For example, important buildings like hospitals and fire stations play a critical
role in post earthquake activities and must remain functional immediately after
earthquake. These structures must sustain very little damage and should be
designed for a higher level of earthquake protection. Collapse of dams during
earthquake can cause flooding in the downstream reaches, which itself can be a
secondary disaster. Therefore, dams and nuclear power plants should be
designed for still higher level of earthquake motion.
8. Earthquake-Resistant Constructions in India

Engineered and Non-Engineered Constructions

• Most building constructions are non-engineered. However, formal education is
imparted only on engineered constructions. Focus of discussions should also be
placed on non-engineered constructions.

Building Material Technology and Know-How

• There is a need for greater discussion on the different building materials and
their utility for earthquake-resistant constructions in technical curriculum.

Division of Responsibilities between Consultants, Contractors and

• The consultant plays the most important role in realising earthquakeresistant
constructions. The consultant has to educate the owner regarding the
consequences of not providing earthquake-resistant features; this may motivate
the owner to incur the extra costs for safety. The responsibility of adhering to
the minimum requirements specified by the design codes shall remain with the
consultant. The consultant also needs to ensure that the detailing provided is
fully implemented by the contractor.

Earthquake-Resistant Design Practice versus Traditional Design

• Earthquake-resistant design and detailing should be considered under normal
design situations. These should be an integral part of design process, even
though these may not govern the final design in all cases.
This situation would then be similar to the current treatment of design for wind
loads. This will d-mystify the myth of earthquake-resistant design and
construction being a special requirement.

Code Provisions And Issues

• Design codes are the minimum specifications of the society’s expectations of
the structures. There is a need to ensure that the codal provisions are faithfully
complied with. Since the building codes also fulfill a social obligation, the costs
incurred by individuals involved in the code development should be provided.
• The code revisions sometime require technological upgradation or other major
changes in the prevailing practices. Appropriate technological innovations and
developments must take place in order to help the implementation of the
difficult provisions.
• The code compliance in the country is currently very poor. This can be
improved through necessary regulations and legal provisions. Introduction of
tender specifications and changes in the city bylaws are some strategies for this.

Also, there is a need for speedy action against defaulters to encourage
• The professional societies should take the initiative to develop model codes or
to discuss specific issues. These may be used as a basis for arriving at the
practical codes. These model codes should be regularly revised based on
continuous technological developments. This will greatly benefit through
increased involvement of professional engineers in code development
Quality Control through Total Quality Management
• Use of ISO:9000 type control processes would help improve both design and
construction practices.
• Implementation of ISO:9000 is initially expensive but experiences show that it
pays off in about 2 years through greater economy in operations.
• Use of TQM concepts checks the common mistakes made in the prevalent

Teaching Philosophy

Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics

• Structural dynamics forms a relatively small segment of earthquake engineering;
the former is not a substitute for the latter. Hence, the course on structural
dynamics has to be viewed differently from that onearthquake engineering.
• Typical course on earthquake engineering has four main elements:
(1) characterisation of ground shaking;
(2) structural analysis under ground motion;
(3) behaviour of structural systems; and
(4) earthquake-resistant design and construction.
• It is necessary to prescribe the content of model courses on earthquakeresistant
analysis, design and construction for both the UG and PG programmes. The
different engineering colleges may use these model syllabi as a basis for
introduction of earthquake-resistant construction in their curriculum. The AICTE
has also initiated efforts to develop a model undergraduate curriculum. The
curriculum proposed in this workshop for earthquake-resistant analysis, design and
construction may be taken as an input by AICTE in its efforts.
• Engineering curriculum should also inculcate in the students their social
responsibilities, the necessity of using sound design principles and compliance with
code provisions.

UG Programme
• It may be possible to introduce, at the 1st year level, an introductory course on natural
disaster mitigation open to undergraduate students from all branches of engineering to
appreciate the related issues. This course may be strengthened through laboratory
demonstrations, and use of multimedia tools to show the behaviour of structures,
consequences of failures and societal implications.
• In view of the drastic improvement in analysis tools, static structural analysis curriculum
currently imparted at the 2nd/3rd year level may be significantly altered. The essentials of
static analysis may require only about 60% of the time currently assigned in most
curricula. With appropriate changes, the remaining 40% of the time may be employed for
exposure to dynamic analysis.
• This will enable the introduction of wind/seismic design concepts in the preliminary
design courses at the 3rd/4th year levels of the undergraduate programme. The design
courses should also discuss the need for specialised/ductile detailing provisions.
• It is also desirable to introduce an elective at the 4th year level exclusively dealing with
winds and earthquakes, analysis, design and construction.
• Earthquake-resistant design course can be introduced in the undergraduate curriculum
in two different ways. In the first, the provisions of earthquakeresistant design may be
amalgamated with the existing design courses.
Alternatively, some institutions may find it useful to introduce a full course on basic
earthquake-resistant analysis and design procedures.
• The proposed curriculum for the model U.G. courses are enclosed in Appendix-A.

PG Programme

• There is a need for some engineers to be fully trained in all aspects of

earthquake engineering. These engineers will cater to the requirements of highly
seismic regions of the country and major projects anywhere. Thus, a few
institutions/universities may provide such specialisations.
• In general, structural engineering students with exposure to
earthquakeresistant analysis, design and constructions would fulfill the needs of
most industries. To achieve this, an appropriately designed course on
earthquake engineering should be offered to the students as a continuation of the
(usually) compulsory structural dynamics course.
• Regional seismicity concerns may decide the priority of individual institutions/
universities, and hence their curriculum. This is particularly so when these
institutions are financially supported at the regional level.
• At the post-graduate level, it is necessary to have atleast a two-course
sequence of structural dynamics followed by earthquake engineering.
Alternatively, some colleges may choose to offer two separate courses in lieu of
the single course in earthquake engineering. In such cases, the first course may
focus on seismological background and earthquake analysis of structures. The
second course may be devoted to earthquake-resistant design philosophy and
• The proposed curriculum for these model P.G. courses are enclosed in

Architecture Programme
• Introduction of seismic considerations in the architectural curriculum at the
UG level is essential. To attend to the short-term needs, short courses for
architects on earthquake-resistant constructions are required to increase their
awareness. Slides showing failures in past earthquakes may be effectively used
to illustrate sound earthquake-resistant architectural provisions.
• The experiences from past earthquakes should be included in the curriculum
related to urban land usage and town planning.

Diploma-Level Programme

• Since the Diploma-holders play a key role in the implementation of designs

and supervision of constructions, there is a need to introduce the basic concepts
of earthquake-resistant constructions in the polytechnic curriculum. Suitable
thumb-rules need to be imparted to facilitate this learning.
• The importance of quality control in construction of earthquake-resistant
structures should be emphasised in Diploma curriculum. This will require
explaining the concepts of quality and providing check-points for constructions.
• There is also a need to introduce simple booklets and other teaching materials
illustrating the seismic resistant provisions for commonly used structural
systems. These can be widely distributed to current Diplomaholders
to assist them with upgrading their skills.
• It is also necessary to include ductile detailing requirements in the Diploma

Faculty Resource Generation

Status and Needs

• Based on a survey of engineering colleges in the country carried out by IIT
Kanpur, it has been found that about 85% faculty members interested in
earthquake engineering (either having expertise or interested in developing
expertise in earthquake resistant construction) have studied structural dynamics
while only about 30% have formally studied earthquake-resistant constructions
during their postgraduate education.
• There is a need to train more faculty members in earthquake-resistant design
and construction techniques.
• The Quality Improvement Programme (QIP) of AICTE can be used to impart
both short-term as well as long-term training. The AICTE has already identified
about 15 to 20 course modules in earthquake engineering that may be of interest
to teachers in engineering colleges.

Training Strategies
• The training programmes for college teachers must cover the model
curriculum (that was discussed in Theme 2). The training programmes should
include significant amount of take-home reference materials and teaching-aids
for subsequent use by these trainees.

• Short-term courses can be effectively used for training teachers for UG and
PG courses. Sufficiently large number of training modules should be offered
each year so that all teachers who are interested in these courses are able to find
a convenient training programme.
• It is not necessary to always offer training courses at the parent institution of
the resource persons. Depending on the geographical spread of the interested
teachers, such courses can also be arranged at other colleges to ensure
convenient access to the trainee teachers.
• Training of teachers is different from training of design professionals. During
the training of teachers, more emphasis should be given on explanation of basic
concepts rather than the use of thumb-rule based design procedures. The teacher
trainees are expected to consolidate their understanding and implementation
through self-study.
• Short-term visits (up to 6 months) to specific institutions can be extremely
effective for advanced training of teachers. During the short visit, specific
project-based research may be carried out. Such short-term visits should be
followed by regular interactions.

Collaboration with Institutions

• Greater interaction between institutions will help in the dissemination of
information on earthquake-resistant construction procedures. Both formal
collaboration through joint projects as well as informal collaboration need
to be encouraged.
• During collaborative projects it is necessary to ensure optimal utilisation of
resources of both the institutions.
• The maintenance of some laboratory equipments may be very expensive. If
these equipments are required to be used during the collaborative project, their
maintenance expenses may need to be allocated from appropriate sources.

Experimental Facilities

Requirements of Experimental Facilities

• Experimental facilities serve two purposes. They should be used for (1)
demonstrating concepts during teaching, and (2) carrying out research and
development. Laboratories dedicated to the former need not include advanced
and expensive experimental set-up. These need to be established at most of the
colleges engaged in teaching earthquake-resistant constructions. Since
laboratories suitable for research and development require significant amount of
resources, they need not be duplicated at all colleges. However, modalities of
sharing available experimental facilities between institutions need to be worked

Experimental Demonstration and Courses

• Experimental exposure is required at both the UG and PG levels. At the
undergraduate level, the experiments may be demonstration-type illustrating the
consequences of earthquake disasters. These demonstrations should illustrate
the advantages of earthquake-resistant features. At the postgraduate level, three
different semester-long modules are suggested. The first module consists of a
number of experiments to demonstrate the important concepts of structural
dynamics. The second module is basically the traditional structural engineering
laboratory with added emphasis on earthquake-resistant construction features.
This module should also include demonstration of preferred ductile detailing
requirements. The third module is a comprehensive laboratory programme on
earthquake engineering demonstrating all the important concepts. The proposed
experiments for these modules are described in Appendix-C.

• The laboratory courses may also include appropriate experiments on material

behaviour and on practical aspects of constructions.
• A number of relatively small gadgets can be fabricated to demonstrate the
basic design principles for earthquake-resistant structures. These may be used as
teaching-aids for earthquake engineering course.

9. Seismic Actions
Lateral forces excited in a building by an earthquake motion are influenced
by the characteristics of ground motion, mass and stiffness distribution of the
structure, and strength and deformation capacities of structural members.

9.1. Characteristics of Earthquake Motion

The earthquake risk is not uniform on the earth, but varies significantly from
one region to another. Most major earthquakes occur along the boundaries of
tectonic plates due to their relative movement. These plate boundary
earthquakes occur at a relatively uniform interval (50 to a few hundred
years) for a given region with accumulation of strain energy. Some
earthquakes of lesser magnitudes occur by the fracture of active faults within
a tectonic plate caused by stresses developed by the plate movement. Some
active faults have been identified on the ground surface, but others are buried
under the ground. An active fault in a tectonic plate may fracture once in a
few thousand years.

Earthquake ground motion specific at a construction site is influenced by the

geometry of active faults, dynamic rupture process of earthquake sources,
and the transmission of earthquake motions from the earthquake source to
the construction site. The global parameters such as fault length, width and
magnitude of an earthquake must be estimated by the seismic history,
geological investigation and source modeling of active faults. The
transmission characteristics of earthquake motion may be estimated on the
basis of observation of more frequent minor earthquakes. The intensity of
earthquake wave decays with distance. These estimates involve a large
uncertainty. The earthquake wave is generally transmitted from the fracture
fault through hard rock layers and then to the ground surface through
relatively soft surface soil. The characteristics of ground motion are
significantly modified by the properties of surface soil layers, such as the
properties and geometry of the subsurface soil layers, surface topography,
and depth and properties of the underlying bedrock. Soft soil layers
consisting of river deposits tend to amplify long period

Whenever a building project is prepared and designed, the first and the most
important aspect of design is to know the zone to which this structure is likely
to rest. Depending upon these, precautionary measures in structural design
calculation are considered and structure can be constructed with sufficient
amount of resistance to earthquake forces. Various measures to be adopted are
explained pointwise, giving emphasis to increase earthquake resistance of
Building planning:
The records of various earthquake failures reveal that unsymmetrical structure
performs poorly during earthquake. The unsymmetrical building usually
develops torsion due to seismic forces, which causes development of crack
leading to collapse of a structure. Building therefore should be constructed
rectangular and symmetrical in plan. If a building has to be planned in irregular
or unsymmetrical shape, it should be treated as the combination of a few
rectangular blocks connected with passages. It will avoid torsion and will
increase resistance of building to earthquake forces.
IS code recommends that as far as possible entire building should be founded on
uniform soil strata. It is basically to avoid differential settlement. In case if
loads transmitted on different column and column footing varies, foundation
should be designed to have uniform settlement by changing foundation size as
per code conditions to have a loading intensity for uniform settlement.
Raft foundation performs better for seismic forces. If piles are driven to some
depth over which a raft is constructed (raft cum pile foundation), the behaviour
of foundation under seismic load will be far better. Piles will take care of
differential settlement with raft and resistance of structure to earthquake forces
will be very large.

Provision of band:
IS code recommends construction of concrete band at lintel level to resist
earthquake. The studies revealed that building with band at lintel level and one
at plinth level improves load carrying of building to earthquake tremendously. It
is suggested here that if bands are plinth level, sill level, lintel level and roof
level in the case of masonry structure only, the resistance of building to
earthquake will increase tremendously. Band at sill level should go with vertical
band and door openings to meet at lintel level. Hold fast of doors can be fitted
in their sill band. In case of earthquake of very high intensity or large duration
only infill wall between walls will fail minimizing casualties and sudden
collapse of structure. People will get sufficient time to escape because of these
Arches and domes:
Behavior of arches has been found very unsatisfactory during earthquake.
However domes perform very satisfactory due to symmetrical in nature. Arches
during earthquake have tendency to separate out and collapse. Mild steel ties if
provided at the ends, their resistance can be increased to a considerable extent.
These are the worst affected part of any building during earthquake. Studies
reveal that this is mainly due to differential displacement of connected floors.
This can be avoided by providing open joints at each floor at the stairway to
eliminate bracing effect.
Beam column joints:
In framed structures the monolithic beam column connections are desirable so
as to accommodate reversible deformations. The maximum moments occur at
beam-column junction. Therefore most of the ductility requirements should be
provided at the ends. Therefore spacing of ties in column is restricted to 100mm
centre and in case of beam strips and rings should be closely spaced near the
joints. The spacing should be restricted to 100mm centre to centre only near the
supports. In case of columns, vertical ties are provided; performance of columns
to earthquake forces can be increased to a considerable extent.
Steel columns for tall buildings ie buildings more than 8 storey height should be
provided as their performance is better than concrete column due to ductility
behavior of material.
Masonry building:
Mortar plays an important role in masonry construction. Mortar possessing
adequate strength should only be used. Studies reveal that a cement sand ratio of
1:5 or 1:6 is quite strong as well as economical also. If reinforcing bars are put
after 8 to 10 bricklayers, their performance to earthquake is still better. Other
studies have revealed that masonry infill should not be considered as non-
structural element. It has been seen that in case of column bars are provided

with joints at particular level about 600-700mm above floor level at all storey
should be staggered. It may be working as a weak zone at complete floor level
in that storey.
As such if few measures are adopted during stages of design and construction of
building their resistance to earthquake forces can be improved considerably.
Though buildings cannot be made 100% earthquake proof but their resistance to
seismic forces can be improved to minimize loss of property and human life
during the tremors.

Reinforced hollow concrete blocks are designed both as load-bearing walls for
gravity loads and also as shear walls for lateral seismic loads, to safely
withstand the earthquakes. This structural system of construction is known as
shear wall-diaphragm concept, which gives three-dimensional structural
integrity for the buildings.

Structural features:
· Each masonry element is vertically reinforced with steel bars and concrete
grouts fill, at regular intervals, through the continuous vertical cavities of
hollow blocks.
· Similarly, each masonry element is horizontally reinforced with steel bars
and concrete grout fills at plinth, sill, lintel and roof levels, as continuous RC
bands using U-shaped concrete blocks in the masonry course, at repetitive
· Grid of reinforcement can be built into each masonry element without the
requirement of any extra shuttering and it reduces the scope of corrosion of the
· As the reinforcement bars in both vertical and horizontal directions can be
continued into the roof slab and lateral walls respectively, the structural
integrity in all three dimensions is achieved.
Structural advantages:

· In this construction system, structurally, each wall and slab behaves as a
shear wall and a diaphragm respectively, reducing the vulnerability of
disastrous damage to the structure during natural hazards.
· Due to the uniform distribution of reinforcement in both vertical and
horizontal directions, through each masonry element, increased tensile
resistance and ductile behavior of elements could be achieved. Hence the
construction system can safely resist lateral or cyclic loading, when compared to
other masonry construction systems. This construction system has also been
proved to offer better resistance under dynamic loading, when compared to the
other conventional systems of construction.
Constructional advantages:
· No additional formwork or any special construction machinery is required
for reinforcing the hollow block masonry.
· Only semi-skilled labour is required for this type of construction.
· It is faster and easier construction system, when compared to the other
conventional construction systems.
· It is also found to be cost-effective.
Architectural and other advantages:
· This constructional system provides better acoustic and thermal insulation
for the building.
· This system is durable and maintenance free.
Studies on the comparative cost economics of RHCBM:
There is a general apprehension that the RHCBM would be a costlier system, as
it advocates reinforcing and use of concrete grout in the hollow spaces within
the masonry. To dispel the apprehension, the relative cost economics of
RHCBM structures are worked out in comparison with conventional
construction systems.

Structural scheme cost per sq.m in Rs.

Reinforced hollow concrete block masonry Rs.1822
RC framed structure with brick masonry infill Rs.1845
Load bearing masonry Rs.1782

RHCBM has structural advantages of lighter dead weight and increased floor
area. These advantages are quantitatively worked out from the fact that,
RHCBM is built of 20cm thick hollow block wall, when compared to the 23cm
thick one brick wall of RCC framed structure and 34cm thick one and half brick
wall of load bearing structure.

12. Various methodologies

I. Diaphragms
• Even symmetrical buildings must be able to withstand significant
lateral forces.
• Engineers counteract these forces in both the horizontal and vertical
structural systems of a building.
• Diaphragms are a key component of the horizontal structure
• Includes floors and roofs of levels.

II. Cross bracing and shear walls
• Cross-bracing, which uses two diagonal members in an X-shape, is
a popular way to build wall trusses.
• Instead of braced frames or in addition to them, engineers may use
shear walls -- vertical walls that stiffen the structural frame of a
building and help resist rocking forces.

III. Moment Resisting Frames
• Shear walls do, however, limit the flexibility of the building design.
To overcome this downfall, some designers opt for moment-
resisting frames.
• In these structures, the columns and beams are allowed to bend, but
the joints or connectors between them are rigid. As a result, the
whole frame moves in response to a lateral force and yet provides an
edifice that's less obstructed internally than shear-wall structures.

V. Base Isolation
Base isolation, also known as seismic base isolation or base isolation system, is
one of the most popular means of protecting a structure
against earthquake forces. It is a collection of structural elements which should
substantially decouple a superstructure from its substructure resting on a
shaking ground thus protecting a building or non-building structure's integrity.
Base isolation is one of the most powerful tools of earthquake
engineering pertaining to the passive structural vibration control technologies. It
is meant to enable a building or non-building structure to survive a potentially
devastating seismic impact through a proper initial design or subsequent
modifications. In some cases, application of base isolation can raise both a
structure's seismic performance and its seismicsustainability considerably.
Contrary to popular belief base isolation does not make a building earthquake
Base isolation system consists of isolation units with or without isolation
components, where:

• Isolation units are the basic elements of a base isolation system which are
intended to provide the aforementioned decoupling effect to a building or
non-building structure.
• Isolation components are the connections between isolation units and
their parts having no decoupling effect of their own.

VI. Active Mass Damping
A tuned mass damper, also known as a harmonic absorber, is a device
mounted in structures to reduce the amplitude of mechanical vibrations.
Their application can prevent discomfort, damage, or outright structural
failure. They are frequently used in power transmission, automobiles, and


This includes mid-level isolation system installed while the buildings are still
being used. This new method entails improving and classifying the columns on
intermediate floors of an existing building into flexible columns that incorporate
rubber bearings (base isolation systems) and rigid columns which have been
wrapped in steel plates to add to their toughness. A combination of these two
types of columns is then used to improve the earthquake-resistant performance
of the building as a whole
This is the first method of improving earthquake resistance in Japan that
classifies the columns on the same floor as flexible columns and rigid columns,
and it is the first case in west Japan (the Kansai region) of attaching rubber
bearings by cutting columns on the intermediate floors an existing building.
This method involves improving earthquake resistance while the buildings are
still being used as normal operations.
There are three types of base isolation systems, depending on the
location where rubber bearings are incorporated:
· Pile head isolation
· Foundation isolation
· Mid-level isolation
By cutting horizontally all columns and walls on a specific intermediate floor
and installing rubber bearings in the columns that have been cut, that floor
becomes extremely flexible, and the building will sway horizontally with the
large sway amplitude of 40-50 centimeters under maximum level earthquakes.
It therefore becomes possible that the finishing materials, piping and existing
elevators may not be able to keep pace with the deformations and break,
perhaps resulting in their protruding from the site of the building.
In the head office of Himeji Shinkin Bank, columns with rubber
bearings incorporated in them to allow them to move flexibly and rigid columns
which were made tougher by wrapping steel plate were placed effectively,
thereby suppressing horizontal deformation and improving the earthquake
resistance of the building as a whole.
Vibration control units incorporating viscous materials with high energy
absorption performance were installed in walls, to play the role of dampers.
This reduced the swaying of the building. Mid-level isolation procedure is
shown in the fig.

Following the devastating earthquakes in Turkey this summer that killed as
many as 20,000 people and injured another 27,000, images of survivors trapped
beneath the rubble of collapsed buildings appeared daily in news reports
worldwide. Now a North Carolina State University engineer is developing a
new type of concrete to help prevent such scenes from happening again.
Because it's reinforced with mats made of thousands of stainless steel fibers
injected with special concrete slurry, the new material, called Slurry Infiltrated
Mat Concrete (SIMCON), can sustain much higher stress loads and
deformations than traditional concrete. Tests show that concrete buildings or
bridges reinforced with SIMCON are far more earthquake-resistant and less
likely to break apart in large chunks that fall off and cause injury to people
If extreme stresses cause SIMCON to fail, its mass of fibers and concrete
doesn't collapse in the same way traditional concrete does. Instead of large
chunks breaking and falling from a structure, the material crumbles into small,
harmless flakes. This controlled form of failure is a key advantage of SIMCON.
Because failure is inevitable in all structures, engineers must design buildings
and bridges to fail in the safest way. In conventional concrete structures, this is
achieved through the use of steel reinforcing bars -- rebars -- that give the
concrete tensile strength it would otherwise lack. For safety and design reasons,
the concrete is designed so that the rebars will fail before the concrete does.
Unfortunately, many structures have not been designed to sustain the powerful
stresses caused by earthquakes. When such extreme stresses occur, the concrete
can crack, explode and break away from the rebars, causing the structure to
collapse. By contrast, failure of SIMCON would present little danger to people
or property below.

Earthquakes are not common phenomena in most parts of the world. Hence,
houses in most rural areas are not built to withstand seismic forces, resulting in
heavy causalities even in moderate quakes. In some parts of the world, however,
where earthquakes are common, people have incorporated the critical elements
of quake-resistance in their traditional construction method. Traditional house
building techniques have successfully demonstrated, during past earthquakes in
the Himalayan region, that there is inherent after component associated with the
constructional design. This was found during the 1905 Kangra earthquake, the
traditional Kat-Ki Kunni houses in Kullu valley made up of timber remained
unaffected. The Dhajji-Diwari buildings remained intact in the 1885 Srinagar
earthquake. Similarly, in Uttarkashi the traditional 100 years old multistoried
buildings called Pherols have incorporated basic features of earthquake
The Pherols of Uttarkashi:
Pherols are old traditionally built multistoried structures found in
Uttarkashi district. The main materials of constructions are stone and wood with
mud mortar. The construction is essentially coarse-rubble masonry type. The
various earthquake resistant features in these types of houses are the use of
wooden tie-bands as beams and vertical timber columns as pins to tie the inside
and outside Wyeths of a wall. Long stones with flat surfaces are distributed in
the walls to make the loads vertical in the wall units and minimize the tendency
of the wall stones to push or run outward. Moreover, to distribute some of the
seismic load vertically corner reinforcements are provided by the use of wooden
blocks and long flat stones. Also, the height of the floor is kept low and there
are minimum numbers of openings, for keeping the centre of gravity low and
also for the insulation purposes.
The Dhajji-Diwari buildings of Kashmir:
The Dhajji-Diwari buildings were the one that survived when part
of the palace and other massive old building collapsed in the Srinagar quake of
1885. The most significant aspect of the Dhajji-Diwari buildings is the
combination of the building materials used. These materials are locally
available and have been used for generations. The basic elements in these
buildings are the load bearing masonry piers and infill walls. There are wooden
tie-bands at each floor level. The foundation consists of rubble masonry with
lime mortar whereas; mud mortar is used for the rest of the structure.
The infill materials are usually abode bricks bonded with mud
mortar. The wooden bands tie the walls of the structure with the floors and also

impart ductility to a structure that is otherwise brittle. The unreinforced masonry
walls have stiffness but not strength. In the absence of strength, flexibility is
essential for quake resistance. Here, the desired flexibility is provided by the
combination of wood and unreinforced masonry laid in a wear mortar. The
wooden beams tie the whole house together and ensure that the entire building
sways together as one unit in an earthquake.
The Kat-Ki- Kunni Buildings of Kulu Valley:
Similar to the Pherols and the Dhajji-Diwari buildings, the Kat-Ki-Kunni or
timber cornered buildings suffered minimal damage in the epicentral tract of
Kulu Valley during the 1905 Kangra earthquake. This structure is almost
identical to the Pherols of Uttarkashi. It combines the weight, solidity and
coolness of a stone building with the flexibility and earthquake-resisting
qualities of a wooden one. Here the wood bonding takes place at vertical
intervals of three to five feet. Two parallel beams are laid along with layer of
masonry, one on the inside and one on the outside. At the end of one wall the
beams cross them on the walls at right angle, and the wooden pins hold the
crossing together. Crossties of wood similarly hold the two parallel beams in
position at intervals along their length.
Quincha earthquake resistant buildings:
Following a devastating earthquake in the Alto Mayo region of Peru in 1990
ITDG's Shelter Programme became involved in a major reconstruction project
to build earthquake resistant housing using 'improved quincha' - a timber and
lattice frame design with an earth infill - based on traditional technologies.
Traditional quincha building technology results in a flexible structure with an
inherent earthquake resistance. It has been used in parts of Peru for many
centuries. Traditionally, a quincha house would have a round pole set directly in
the ground; in filled with smaller wooden poles and interwoven to form a
matrix, which is then plastered with one or more layers of earth. ITDG worked
closely with builders, householders and community organisations in Alto Mayo
to introduce improved, earthquake resistant building technology - quincha
Improved quincha had the following characteristics over and above traditional
 Concrete foundations for greater stability.
 Wooden columns treated with tar or pitch to protect against humidity,
concreted into the ground with nails embedded in the wood at the base to give
extra anchorage.
 Using concrete wall bases to prevent humidity affecting the wood and the
canes in the walls.
 Careful jointing between columns and beams to improve structural
 Canes woven in a vertical fashion to provide greater stability.
 Lightweight metal sheet roofing to reduce danger of falling tiles.
 Nailing roofing material to roof beams; tying of beams and columns with
roof wires.
 Incorporating roof eaves of sufficient width to ensure protection of walls
from heavy rains.


 There is a lack of awareness in the earthquake disaster mitigations. Avoiding

non-engineered structures with unskilled labour even in unimportant
temporary constructions can help a great way.
 Statewide awareness programmes have to be conducted by fully exploiting
the advancement in the information technology.
 Urgent steps are required to be taken to make the codal provisions regarding
earthquake resistant construction undebatable.
 The builders and constructors should adopt the codal provisions in all the
future construction, as prevention is better than cure. On the light of avoiding
the risk, this may not be an impossible task as earthquake resistant measures
in building involves only 2%-6% additional cost depending on the type of
 Using construction techniques like SIMCON and RHCBM can not only
mitigate earthquake effects but also are cost effective.


1. Chopra.R, Kumar.R, Chawla.K.S, T.P.Singh, “Traditional Earthquake Resistant Houses”, Honey

Bee, Vol 11&Vol 12,Oct 2000-Nov 2001.

2. Deodhar.S.V, Dubey.S.K, “Remedial Measures Against Earthquake disaster”, National Building

Material and Construction World, Vol 2, Jan 2003, Pg 52-56.

3. Earthquake Tip 8, “What is seismic design philosophy?”, Indian Concrete Journal, Jan 2004, Vol 2.

4. Earthquake Tip 17, “How do earthquakes affect reinforced concrete buildings?” Indian Concrete
Journal, April 2004, Vol 1.

5. Indian Standard IS 1893-20