New ISO Standard Assists Developing Countries with Seismic Assessments

It was developed specifically for countries that do not have national building codes already in place. The standard will help in assessing the safety of buildings before and after earthquakes.

ISO 28841:2013, Guidelines for simplified seismic assessment and rehabilitation of concrete buildings, has been developed specifically for developing countries that do not have national building codes in place.

The new standard provides sufficient information on its own to allow designers to use it without supplementary, external data or sophisticated calculation tools. However, the guidelines are for relatively simple structures, and building characteristics such as occupancy and number of stories should be considered, according to ISO.

"Instead of having to conduct a thorough structural analysis of the building, this standard contains guidelines to assess the seismic vulnerability with simple validated calculations for undamaged buildings, and to assess the damage and risk level for damaged buildings. Using it helps ensure the building is safe in a wide range of circumstances," said Josef Farbiarz, project leader for the development of the standard. "One downside to the simplified approach could be that the building uses slightly more building materials than is strictly necessary for the situation. But construction materials are significantly cheaper than getting hold of the necessary data and running the traditional assessment and design procedures; having a stand-alone solution is really valuable for developing countries."

According to ISO's news release, the standard can be used before an earthquake to assess a building's vulnerability and afterward to decide what repairs need to be made to ensure a safe structure. Another standard for concrete bridges that follows a similar model, ISO 28842:2013 Guidelines for simplified design of reinforced concrete bridges, is also available.

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