Safety and public health standards in the design, implementation and maintenance of earthquake-resistant reinforced concrete buildings and facilities depend more on the importance of applying the “Syrian Arab Code” system, issued by the Order of Engineers, according to the head of the Structural Engineering Department at the Higher Institute for Seismic Research and Studies at Damascus University, Dr. Eng. Mounir al-Atrash.
In a statement to SANA reporter, Dr. Al-Atrash stated that the design of earthquake-resistant facilities according to the Syrian code began in 1995, but the collapse of a large number of buildings in the affected areas and the cracking of others as a result of the earthquake that struck the country recently is due to the fact that some buildings are old and were not designed to resist earthquakes, in addition The building materials were worn out, which led to weaknesses.
As for the significant damage caused to newly-made buildings, Dr. Al-Atrash attributed this to poor engineering design and implementation, especially in “unorganized” construction areas that were not subject to engineering supervision. As for stone buildings, they are the weakest in resistance.
Regarding the mechanism for detecting the buildings damaged as a result of the earthquake, Dr. Al-Atrash stated that teams were formed from the Engineers Syndicate, the Faculties of Civil Engineering, and the Higher Institute for Seismic Research and Studies, relying on structural engineers from postgraduate students (Master’s and PhD) to inspect these buildings according to the emergency plan in all affected areas to work To describe it and determine its damages with the necessary photography and documentation, and send that to specialists to evaluate each case and determine what is needed.
According to Dr. Al-Atrash, the damaged buildings are classified into three main cases, including buildings that were slightly affected and resulted in light cracks that do not affect the structural integrity and are considered safe, including buildings that were affected by large cracks that are unsafe and need reinforcement, so they must be evacuated, and buildings that are about to fall must be evacuated and demolished immediately.
Dr. Al-Atrash explained that the possibility of the collapse of some buildings subjected to significant physical damage as a result of the earthquake is possible, especially within the structural elements that support the building, such as vertical columns, horizontal bridges, concrete staircases, and reinforced walls, pointing out that the situation worsens during aftershocks.
Dr. Al-Atrash explained that the earthquake exposes the building to a horizontal force from below, which leads to damage and cracks in it, in addition to the problem of disturbance that occurs between soil particles under the foundations of the existing building and causes voids and disintegrations, which leads to a sudden collapse of the building and immediate collapse, stressing the importance of surveying the soil to ensure its safety. .
Dr. Al-Atrash called for the necessity of strictness by the Engineers Syndicate and all concerned authorities to take the necessary design and correct implementation of concrete buildings, with the obligation of engineering supervision and quality control, stressing the need to activate the role of municipalities in deterring any building violations of any kind.
Regarding the devastating earthquake that the country witnessed, Dr. Al-Atrash considered it the most violent in more than 100 years, and that aftershocks may continue for several weeks with low intensities, noting that it is not possible to predict with certainty the occurrence of the earthquake or determine its location and intensity.
Mahran Abu Fakhr
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