While the idea of earthquakes are not a huge concern and tend to operate as an afterthought for Minnesotans, they are a worthy concern when building an addition or new home. Making a home “earthquake proof” is another means of ensuring that your home is structurally sound overall. Houses and buildings shift over time, movements within their framing and overall structure can lead towards general deterioration of the home, without sound reinforcement.
A simple approach is called for in masonry construction for your Minneapolis or greater Twin Cities area home. The behavior of any building during an earthquake or its general existence over time depends critically on its overall shape, size and geometry. The way an earthquake’s forces are dispersed across and underground will also play into how well your home withstands its rigors. By existing as a built structure with an in-ground foundation, your home is already doing battle against forces underground, shifting over the years. The main objective is to utilize masonry construction as a reinforcement or extra layer of protection that helps further work towards making sure that a structure does not collapse during earthquakes.
An earthquake, of course, is a naturally occurring phenomenon that unfolds frequently with minimal warning, if any at all. Amongst all of its land-based counterparts in the naturally occurring disasters game, earthquakes are the most devastating. Ground motions unfold randomly, in all directions, radiating from the epicenter. Structures in the way of these forces have to deal with the heavy blows thrown at them. All structures in such locations should be designed to ensure stability (earthquake or general functionality).
Masonry consists of assembling a building by laying individual masonry units (brick, concrete, stone, etc). These units are typically laid with mortar, binding them to create the structure. Masonry construction, in addition to helping structurally, can add aesthetic appeal to a home at reasonable prices. Not dissimilar to concrete, masonry tends towards being high in compressive (a material’s resistance to breaking under compression) but is low in tensile strength (a material’s resistance to breaking under tension).
Masonry construction as a means of further solidifying a structure should follow the general rules below:
- Building configuration should be simple.
- Formation should be based on solid, steady ground.
- Structure should be easy and definite.
- Frame of the building structure should have adequate ductility as well as required strength capacity.
- Deformations produced in a building should be held to values, which will not provide obstacles to safety use of building.