Reinforcing a structure requires the use of shear walls, cross braces, diaphragms, and moment-resisting frames. Shear walls are an effective construction technique for transferring earthquake stresses. These walls, which are made of panels, aid in the preservation of a building's form during transportation. Cross braces are metal members attached to the inside surface of concrete floors and ceilings to provide additional reinforcement where it is needed most - across openings or through holes. Diaphragms are flat plates located between floor and ceiling joists that serve to prevent them from separating during an earthquake. Moment-resisting frames are internal structures within a building designed to resist the overturning force created by an earthquake. These frames can be seen in architecture magazines every year as new structures are being built that are claimed to be earthquake resistant.
There are three main methods used by engineers to make buildings more earthquake resistant: strengthen the existing building code standards, design new structures with increased resistance, and implement active control systems such as anti-seismic wall designs and ground motion mitigation strategies.
The first method depends on each state's version of the national building code to determine what actions should be taken to ensure public safety during an earthquake. States may choose to update their building codes regularly to reflect changing scientific knowledge about how best to protect people from damage or death due to seismic activity. Some states also have independent agencies responsible for updating their building codes; these groups may include structural engineers, architects, and others.
Buildings must disperse the forces that go through them during a seismic event in order to withstand collapse. They consist of horizontal slabs with vertical reinforcing at each end. Cross braces connect adjacent floor and roof joists or beams. Diaphragms are flat panels used as base courses on buildings exposed to wind loads. Moment-resisting frames include strong connecting members between floors and ceilings. These devices distribute loading over a large area instead of placing it on small points like pillars and walls. Frames are commonly used where interior partitions do not allow for open spaces between them and their neighbors.
Seismic safety is the main goal of any building design process. The first step is to perform an accurate survey of the site to identify all existing problems such as poorly drained soil, close proximity to fault lines, etc. That information will help determine what measures need to be taken before construction begins. For example, if the site surveys show there are many large rocks located near the foundation, they should be removed or chipped away from the property line before construction begins. This will help to prevent damage to the foundation during the pouring of the footer hole.
After the site has been surveyed, the next step in the process is to create a structural model of the building being designed.
Reinforce the structure of the building. These elements increase the structure's resistance to bending forces, which include those caused by wind loading and internal pressure.
Make it easier for energy to escape during an earthquake. Seismologists call this concept "ground motion mitigation." It means looking at how buildings are constructed and choosing designs that will limit damage if the ground under the building moves more than expected during an earthquake.
Buildings lose energy through three mechanisms: radiation into space, conduction into the ground, and friction with the environment. If a building is well designed and built to code, its energy loss during an earthquake should be less than its energy gain from other sources such as sunlight or heat pumps. A poorly designed or built house can waste most of the energy from an earthquake before it has time to be dissipated through these mechanisms.
House designers often choose materials that will not damage easily when subjected to force vibrations. For example, wood frame houses are usually built with vibration dampening material (WBVM) between the floor and the bottom plate of the foundation to reduce noise and stress transmitted through the house to the foundation.