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How to Design an Earthquake Proof Building in SketchUp

Simple earthquake proof building design. Is it even a thing? Yes, it can be a simple task to create a design for an earthquake-proof building, as long as you have the right tools… and in this case the perfect tool is SketchUp. If you’re researching earthquake-proof-building-design, read on. This article dives into what are the design features of an earthquake proof building and reveals which building design will best withstand an earthquake. By the end you’ll understand how earthquakes affect buildings, know ways to make a structure earthquake-proof, which materials to use, and more.

How earthquakes impact buildings?

Earthquakes can be extremely violent and catastrophically destructive. Even when they measure fairly low on the Richter Scale they can cause serious structural damage, simply by moving and shaking the solid ground beneath buildings, something called ‘generation of inertia forces’ and a big risk for building designers to factor in. The quake causes the ground to shake, moving the base of the building while the roof stays put. When the roof stays in its original position like this, it’s called inertia. Because the walls and columns are attached to it, the roof is dragged around along with the building’s base. As you can imagine the stresses and strains created can easily bring an unprepared structure down. Inertia forces cause shearing stresses, which leads to structures deforming. The ground shakes, the base of the building moves, the roof moves in a different way, and the difference makes internal forces in columns that bring the column back to its original position. There’s also the damage caused by horizontal and vertical shaking. While structures are designed to withstand vertical loads, earthquakes shake the ground in three directions. Vertical loads add or take away from existing loads. Horizontal shaking creates inertia along with lateral displacement, crucial to the structure’s strength. No wonder quakes create such powerful structural stresses that buildings collapse or are quickly damaged beyond repair.

How to make a building earthquake proof