What does earth­quake ‘re­sis­tance’ mean?

Build­ings are cat­e­gorised on the ba­sis of the dam­age they have sus­tained in earth­quakes

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Afully op­er­a­tional level of earth­quake re­sis­tance’ means that de­spite be­ing shaken by an earth­quake, a build­ing, its con­tents and util­i­ties re­main un­dam­aged. Its func­tion is also not dis­rupted.

An ‘ im­me­di­ate oc­cu­pancy level of earth­quake re­sis­tance’, is de­fined as a build­ing, its con­tents and util­i­ties be­ing shaken pre­dom­i­nantly in an earth­quake with only mi­nor dam­age; the use of the build­ing and fa­cil­i­ties not re­stricted af­ter the event so that its func­tion­ing can be re­sumed im­me­di­ately af­ter the earth­quake.

Life safety level of earth­quake re­sis­tance is de­fined by the Na­tional Disas­ter Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity as that the build­ing, its con­tents and util­i­ties be­ing shaken se­verely in their non­lin­ear range of be­hav­iour. Sig­nif­i­cant dam­age oc­curs, but the build­ing re­mains within its re­serve ca­pac­ity and does not reach a state of im­mi­nent col­lapse. Use of the fa­cil­ity is re­stricted af­ter the earth­quake un­til de­tailed struc­tural safety as­sess­ment is done to as­cer­tain the suit­abil­ity of the build­ing for retrofitting.

Col­lapse preven­tion is de­fined as that the build­ing, its con­tents and util­i­ties be­ing shaken se­verely in their non­lin­ear range of be­hav­iour and ma­jor dam­age oc­cur­ring. The build­ing does not have any ad­di­tional re­serve ca­pac­ity and is in the state of im­mi­nent col­lapse.

“Till date all build­ings in the coun­try are be­ing sold/ leased/rented to pub­lic by just men­tion­ing that the build­ing is earth­quake-re­sis­tant and with­out men­tion­ing the cat­e­gory of the earth­quake re­sis­tance, ie fully op­er­a­tional, im­me­di­ate oc­cu­pancy, life safety or col­lapse preven­tion or elab­o­rat­ing on the def­i­ni­tions of each of th­ese cat­e­gories. The dif­fer­ence be­tween the per­for­mance lev­els of the four cat­e­gories of earth­quake re­sis­tant build­ings is so large that keep­ing a cus­tomer in the dark is a bla­tant breach of his con­sumer rights of ‘right to be in­formed’ and ‘the right to con­sumer ed­u­ca­tion’,” says San­deep Don­ald Shah, a struc­tural engineer from Miyamoto In­dia.

There should be strict rules for build­ings to have an en­graved metal plate, of one feet by two feet, men­tion­ing that the build­ing is earth­quake re­sis­tant – col­lapse preven­tion or any other cat­e­gory or ‘earth­quake

re­sis­tance un­known,’ he says.

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