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Quake expectations


I agree with the 7% of engineers who believe that, in light of the recent Birmingham earthquake, the UK should adopt Eurocode 8 (NCE 26 September).

According to the article the earthquake was the largest felt in this country for decades and measured 4.8 on the Richter Scale. We all know the meaning of the logarithmic scale on which the above units are based and know that structural damage was restricted to a minimum.

However, if safety is the essence of structural design, I cannot ignore the possibility, even if this is a serviceability matter.

The vast majority of medium and medium-to-high rise buildings are designed to resist horizontal forces such as wind.

Few designs consider earth movements.

As Booth says in the article, a simplified, quasi-static approach, probably using computational techniques, should be sufficient and as far as detailing is concerned, the wisdom and experiences of other countries would help, where needed.

Eurocode 8 can add in producing an integrated design approach for buildings and structures in the UK.

John N Karadelis, lecturer in engineering mechanics, Coventry University, j. karadelis@coventry. ac. uk

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