Wood Tower Survives Simulated Earthquake, Could Transform Building Safety

Posted May 15, 2023, under Blog

A 10-story wood framed tower withstood a simulated 7.7 earthquake conducted by U.C. San Diego’s Outdoor Shake Table.

The findings reinforce what some engineers believe could be the future of design for new homes and offices that are being constructed near large faults.

“The building performed exactly like we expected,” CSM engineer Shilling Pei told the L.A. Times about the successful test. “We designed everything to be elastic like a spring or rubber band. You can stretch it, but it will come back.”

At its peak shaking, the building moved 1 to 2 feet on each side, without any damage sustained to the structural integrity of the building.

Pei, like many other engineers, believe that these wood-constructed buildings are an extremely viable alternative to concrete or steel-framed structures because wood is a strong, sustainable, and affordable material that can be prefabricated in factories.

It’s important for earthquake-prone regions to consider new construction alternatives, since a major quake can cause upwards of $100 billion in losses.

In fact, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, Los Angeles and Orange counties share the highest price tag of any metro area in the nation, with a combined projected average annual loss of $3.3 billion a year. The San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley metro area came in second, with a projected loss of $1.8 billion a year.

“It’s a sobering reminder about why we need to prepare for those rare but large earthquakes, as just one major event can eclipse the costs of the more frequent but smaller ones,” USGS Director David Applegate said.

All of this information should highlight the importance of earthquake retrofitting. A large portion of California’s buildings are still standing without the necessary retrofits to protect them from large earthquakes. Retrofitting homes, apartment structures, and commercial buildings are key to keeping California resilient in the face of natural disasters like earthquakes — and retrofitting for earthquakes costs far less than repairing the damage from a large seismic event.

If you think your home may be in need of earthquake retrofitting, foundation repair, or foundation replacement, contact Julian Construction today and we will send one of our foundation specialists out to conduct a free, thorough inspection with a quote for repair.

We have extensive experience serving our Los Angeles community and nearby regions. In fact, Julian Construction has inspected over 30,000 structures in the area! Give us a call at (323) 733-3377 to schedule your free inspection or complete the inspection request form.




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