Turkey Earthquake – 2023

The whole world is shocked by the impact of Turkey-Syria Earthquake. It is a reminder to whole structural engineering community to strictly adhere to seismic guidelines to achieve earthquake resistant structures.

Three devastating quakes of Magnitude 7.8, 7.6, 6 hit Turkey. As per latest official report, almost 5000 lost their lives. More than 3500 buildings have collapsed.

Turkey is already located in seismically active region, still most of the buildings were not seismic resistant. Being seismically active, the accumulation strain energy due to restraint to movement of tectonic plates continuously grow and releases in forms of tremors. There could be more socio economic issues to focus than quality of construction, strict adherence to seismic design.

Most of buildings collapsed like pancakes. Most of the videos indicated a soft storey collapse. The ground storey columns being taller and without infills (Parking Space etc.) compared to top floors cause collapse of ground columns.

So this is one is classical case, other includes shear failure of beam column joints, most of designers’ neglect beam column joint, a critical zone where shear failure chances are high.

The reality is most of us are cost concerned, even our Indian code want to increase our column size to minimum of 300 mm to avoid shear failure of joints, but that reduces useable space and commercial building runs on profit per sq. ft, so the owner or client ask us to reduce the column size, if we don’t, he will approach any other structural engineer.

All over the globe, most of the old buildings need a seismic upgrade, i.e. retrofitting to make it seismic resistant, i.e. We should make the buildings capable of absorbing those strain energies released by our Mother Earth by implement all the concepts of Seismic Resistant design including provision of ductile detailing, strong column- weak beam concepts etc.

Structural auditing should be made strict all the countries to make sure our buildings are safe. Designing is one element in construction, but we also need to ensure that the quality of construction at site is met with the standards.

Hope we all together can work together to reduce the impact of earthquake on buildings by strictly adhering to all principles of seismic resistant design norms and retrofitting of old buildings should be made compulsory in case of it being unfit, upon which only stability certificate should be issued ethically by Structural Engineers.

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