Earthquake engineering: Specialists discuss seismic resistant construction in Armenia

Earthquake engineering: Specialists discuss seismic resistant construction in Armenia


Issues related to construction in seismically active zones, like Armenia, were discussed during a Yerevan-Moscow-Astana-Chisinau teleconference on Wednesday.

In particular, a representative of the National Service for Seismic Protection (NSSP) of Armenia’s Emergency Situations Ministry dwelt on problems of enhancing the seismic resistance of multi-apartment buildings.

According to industry experts, after the 1988 magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Spitak that killed about 25,000 people it became clear that most existing buildings in Armenia had not been designed to stand such powerful quakes. The Soviet-built houses had numerous flaws both at the design and engineering stages.

NSSP Earthquake Resistant Construction Center head Zaven Khlghatyan says that now a project is being drafted upon the Government’s decision to enhance the seismic resistance of multi-apartment buildings in capital Yerevan.

“With our Japanese colleagues we have analyzed the features of constructions in Yerevan, classified the existing buildings in accordance with their standard features and seismic resistance potential,” he says.

Besides multi-apartment building, priority is also given to schools, kindergartens, educational institutions, government offices.

Specialists are now discussing the application of new technologies for this purpose.

Khlghatyan says there are at least two methods to improve the level of seismic resistance of buildings: an additional story built on top of the construction for dynamic mollification, which has already been used in Vanadzor, or supplying buildings with more metal-based support at the foundations. “We are trying to set up a special committee at the Ministry of Urban Development and solve these problems,” says the official.

Khlghatyan says that the newly built houses in Armenia are earthquake-proof, but old “sick” buildings next to them continue to be a problem.

Gurgen Namalyan, head of the Construction Seismic Resistance Department at the NSSP, points out the density of construction in Yerevan that leaves no space for children’s playgrounds, recreation areas, broad streets, etc. He says such density increases the risks for the population in the event of an earthquake.