February 9, 2023 - In order to withstand the impact of an earthquake, a building must redistribute its shockwaves. Several design features can handle the side-to-side forces emitted by a quake.
Anger is mounting in Turkey that poor enforcement of building regulations contributed to the collapse of many buildings in the recent earthquakes.
Although the 7.8-magnitude earthquake and massive 7.5-magnitude aftershock in Turkey on Monday (February 6, 2023) were powerful, experts say properly constructed buildings should have been able to stay standing.
“The maximum intensity for this earthquake was violent but not necessarily enough to bring well constructed buildings down,” David Alexander, Professor of Emergency Planning and Management at University College London, told the BBC.
“In most places the level of shaking was less than the maximum, so we can conclude out of the thousands of buildings that collapsed, almost all of them don’t stand up to any reasonably expected earthquake construction code,” said Prof. Alexander.
Construction regulations require structures in earthquake-prone regions to use high-quality concrete reinforced with steel bars.
Since the 1960s, the government has provided “construction amnesties” -- effectively legal exemptions for the payment of a fee -- for up to 75,000 buildings across the affected earthquake zone in southern Turkey.