Ultimate Rules to Develop Your Building for Earthquake in Bangladesh

Ultimate Rules to Develop Your Building for Earthquake in Bangladesh: Ensure Safety and Minimal Damage

February 11, 2024

Earthquakes are natural disasters that can’t be predicted as accurately and early as other calamities. So, the risk and extent of damage from any earthquake is always high. 

So, what are some ultimate rules to develop your building for earthquakes in Bangladesh? Make sure that the building follows the guidelines of the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC). Use seismic designs and earthquake-resistant materials for the construction. It’s also important to have enough exits in your building to evacuate faster.

Besides, you can consider some advanced safety measures like dampers and seismic invisibility cloaks. Finally, public awareness about earthquakes can do wonders.

Are Our Buildings Safe from Earthquakes?

Dhaka is the most densely populated city in Bangladesh. It’s also the one with severely unplanned infrastructure. This puts the city at the most risk of earthquake damage.

According to a Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) survey, over 865,000 buildings in Dhaka would fall if a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck Tangail’s Madhupur fault. If the earthquake strikes during the day, 210,000 people may die and another 229,000 will be injured.

Yet, most of the buildings and houses don’t follow the BNBC guidelines. According to Rajuk’s 2018 survey, 67 percent of structures out of 1.95 lacs surveyed violate building codes.

The building codes recommend having enough fire-safety measures and earthquake resistance. If we comply with the building code, we can ensure a life-saving system.

The Ultimate Rules to Develop Your Building for Earthquakes in Bangladesh

Bangladesh belongs to a seismically active zone of the world. So, it’s crucial to consider earthquake safety during construction. 

Here are some rules you can follow to develop your building for earthquakes in Bangladesh –

Pick a Safe Location

Avoid areas that are prone to landslides and liquefaction. The majority of Dhaka’s housing has been built on wetlands or lowlands. But filling these lands makes them more vulnerable to liquefaction. 

Do a site visit with expert engineers and architects before deciding on the location. You can also check out the BNBC maps for seismic zones in Bangladesh.

Thorough Soil Testing

Understand the soil type and its bearing capacity before you move on to the designing part. Make sure the land is suitable for your building structure.

This will ensure a stronger and more sustainable building foundation.

Follow the Bangladesh National Building Code

BNBC has divided Bangladesh into four seismic zones – Dhaka, Rajshahi, Rangpur, and Sylhet. So, if you’re living in any of these areas, strictly maintain the building codes.

Depending on the area, buildings can’t exceed a certain height. Your building should also be able to handle the lateral load effect.

Plan the Structural Design

A ductile design can help absorb and minimize the earthquake energy. Consult with experienced architects to plan the structural design of your building. 

The pipelines should be flexible enough to break due to the earthquake forces. If a building is not correctly designed or constructed with proper piling, it can collapse during a moderate to severe earthquake.

Follow a seismic design and maintain the height limitations provided by BNBC.

Use Earthquake Resistant Materials

After you’re done planning the initial design, it’s time to move on to the construction. Choose earthquake-resistant materials that are suitable for your building.

Use well-defined concrete mixes, reinforced steel, and engineered wood products for load-bearing elements. Avoid brittle materials like unreinforced masonry. These materials can shatter easily during an earthquake.

Appropriate Non-structural Measures

Make sure the parapets and cornices are lightweight and tightly anchored to the main structure. Use breakaway connections to help detach safely during an earthquake.

The cladding materials like metal sheets or fiber-reinforced plastic should be lightweight and flexible, too.

Minimize Risky Elements

Reduce the weight and size of non-structural elements like parapets, cornices, and cladding. These can become dangerous projectiles during an earthquake.

Connect the Utilities Properly

Make sure the lifelines like water, gas, and electrical lines are properly designed and installed.

Use flexible connections and seismic isolation devices where necessary. This will prevent damage and disruption of essential services.

Multiple Staircases and Exits

It’s dangerous to use elevators during earthquakes. So, make sure you have multiple staircases and enough exits in your building.

This will help to evacuate the residents faster and more safely.

Some Advanced Earthquake Resistant Methods

Apart from the general guidelines, you can use some advanced methods, too. These technologies will make your buildings and properties much safer.

  • Shock Absorbers or Dampers

Shock absorbers or dampers can help lessen the impact of earthquakes. These dampers convert the earthquake’s energy into heat using special fluid-filled cylinders.

This system protects the building by reducing the force of the earthquake waves.

  • Seismic Invisibility Cloak

Engineers are working on an “invisibility cloak” for buildings to help them resist earthquakes. They use special plastic rings in the foundation to keep earthquake waves away from the building. 

This technology is still being tested, but it’s a promising step towards earthquake-resistant buildings.

What to Do If You’re Inside a Building During Earthquakes

We all know that prevention is better than cure. But what if you’re inside a building and an earthquake happens?

  • Get low to the ground and try to take shelter under sturdy furniture. 
  • If you can’t find any shelter, stand near an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
  • Stay away from windows, outside walls, and falling objects.
  • Don’t use elevators as there may be a powerout.
  • Evacuate safely using stairs and avoid rushing.
  • Beware of potential aftershocks.

Final Words

On average, Bangladesh faces about 56 earthquakes a year. It’s not always possible to predict the timing and severity of this natural disaster. So, it’s crucial to be safer than sorry.

The ultimate rules to develop your building for earthquakes in Bangladesh depend on the area you’re living in. Follow the recommended height limitations and seismic designs provided by the Bangladesh National Building Code. 

Always be aware of your surroundings, and don’t panic!

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