earthquake-resistant construction: the Spanish are prepared to withstand an earthquake houses?

Early Wednesday one earthquake of 6.2 degrees on the Richter scale devastated several towns in central Italy , causing far 267 deaths and hundreds of injuries and extensive property damage. This earthquake has not been an isolated case. In 2009, the town of L’Aquila suffered a similar magnitude quake that caused more than 300 deaths, 1,500 injured and 50,000 people lost their homes.

In Spain we still have a vivid memory of Lorca . Earthquake disaster kit on May 11, 2011, the Murcian town received a jolt of magnitude 5.1 that caused nine deaths and 324 wounded. 80% of homes were affected and many of them eventually demolished . The cost of property damage exceeded 450 million euros.


In addition, in February 2015, an earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale with its epicenter in the town of La Mancha Ossa de Montiel returned to sow panic in media Spain. Against this background, many Spaniards today asked a question: is my house prepares to hold an earthquake?

Probably not. According to the Ministry of Development and the National Institute of Statistics (INE) , in Spain there are more than 13 million households with more than 40 years old , more than half of the total. The vast majority of these homes rose without taking any anti – seismic measures. In addition, nearly two million property is in poor condition.

In fact, although the first rules of seismic data cosntrucción 1968 (PGS-1), it was a compendium of recommendations that were not binding except in the case of large public works. Until 1994 was not approved in Construction Standard NCSE-94 Sismoterrestre , Spain did not count with modern seismic regulations.

High risk areas

Currently it is in effect the NCSE-02 , which targets a number of design and construction rules that aim to equip buildings earthquake resistant properties chord with the intensity levels that can affect the area where they are located.

The legislation includes a seismic hazard map which, expressed in terms of basic seismic acceleration, defines the level of intensity of seismic shocks that can affect every area. Huelva, Malaga, Granada, Almeria, Murcia, Alicante and small areas of the Pyrenees are the areas of greatest risk . Only residential buildings located in these areas are required to comply with the standard.

For example, in areas where the application of the NCSE-02 is mandatory is prevented new buildings for housing or public use whose structure is of drywall, adobe or mud walls are made, as experience has demonstrated high vulnerability to earthquakes of medium and high magnitude.

In addition, strict compliance with the standard in buildings whose destruction by the earthquake is also obliged, can disrupt an essential service or lead to catastrophic effects, regardless of where they are located. This group includes hospitals, communications facilities, fire stations, police and armed forces or water networks, gas and fuel.

strict regulations … does not apply

According repeated the College of Architects of Madrid on several occasions , the current Spanish seismic regulations is “very strict” . They claim that “if built faithfully following the rules, the houses put up much more than expected because, when making calculations, we apply some high coefficients architects to withstand much more.”

However, the German engineer Lutz Hermanns , a researcher at the Center for Modeling in Mechanical Engineering (CEMIM), reported that in Spain has not been met anti -seismic regulations in recent constructions while participating in summer courses at the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo ( UIMP).

Is expected to Sismoterrestre Construction Standard NCSE-02 is replaced by the more comprehensive EC8, a European standard drafted by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), which aims to unify the criteria throughout the continent.

Hermanns said that while countries such as Ireland and Germany have already adopted the Eurocode, Spain continues to be governed by its own rules and claims that “if you look at what has been built for five years and take the regulations in force realizes that many things are not met, and nothing happens.

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