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RE: Colombian Earthquake - Jan.25,1999

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    You got to be here (in the 3rd world) to understand this, Dick.  The
codes are not the problem, as someone already pointed out, they're based in
capacity design philosophy and they're pretty good.
    The problem is the enforcement of such codes.
    In Mendoza (Argentina), we had a 5.5 Richter EQ in 1985 and it was
pretty bad.  Although there were practically no victims, a lot of buildings
collapsed.  In '87 we had a new code, and since then it hasn't been
BUT, in many counties (in Mendoza there are 18), I should say, in 17
counties, the '87 code is not mandatory.  Furthermore, they encourage you to
use the previous one, which was written (try a year) 1970(!).
    And the reason for that is that mayors don't want their habitational
politics to delay relative to the other (and rival) counties.
    The other problem (but this one is kind of universal) is that there are
some contractor who don't give a damn about the quality of the construction.
And, as you know, your building can be designed by the book and have a
terrific seismic behavior in your calcs and drawings, but if not adequately
built, it would plainly suck when the next Big One comes along.
    And we're waiting for a big EQ, since in 1872 (I think) there was this
terrible EQ who killed half the population at that time.  Some people has
estimated it as a 8 Richter magnitude EQ.  Which, in other words, means that
we can expect, AT LEAST a 8 RMEQ to  happen.

P.S. I forgot to mention retrofits, but, as you may guess they're so unusual
that some engineers don't even know there is such thing :)

-----Mensaje original-----
De: Horning, Dick/CVO <dhorning(--nospam--at)>
Para: 'seaint(--nospam--at)' <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Fecha: viernes, 29 de enero de 1999 19:11
Asunto: RE: Colombian Earthquake - Jan.25,1999

>We have a lot of old URM and non-ductile reinforced concrete buildings in
>the U.S. too.  And what about all the really old stone buildings in Europe?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: CARLOS ARCE LEON [SMTP:arce(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Friday, January 29, 1999 9:50 AM
> To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
> Subject: Re: Colombian Earthquake - Jan.25,1999
> Main problem in our developing counties is that even having the best
>design code, there are a lot of old buildings built more than 50 years ago
> without retrofiting
> carlos arce