Bahrain buildings ‘can withstand tremors’
Manama, April 18, 2013
Although Bahrain is in no danger of having its own earthquake because it is a "zone zero" area, experts said buildings in the country are strong enough to withstand any tremors due to their high wind-resistant structure.
However, its location at the centre of the Arabian Plate means it can be affected by tremors in Iran, Pakistan, Yemen and Oman, according to a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
Authorities in Bahrain and the Gulf are reviewing the safety of high-rise buildings in a bid to safeguard them from regional shockwaves.
Works Ministry project manager Terry Gostling and Brian Kleiver, a local architect designing the Four Seasons Hotel in Bahrain, yesterday spoke about building safety during the Safety Design in Buildings Conference held at the Gulf Hotel.
"Bahrain is Zone Zero or earthquake free. Although countries like the UK have minor tremors and are Zone One, buildings here have no need for a dynamic response system," said Gostling.
"Dynamic response systems, which are systems built to counteract the force of earthquakes, are only built in Zone Two or Three places like Japan. Buildings and building codes are under review not only in Bahrain but in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and countries that felt the quake."
Gostling's comments were made following the evacuation of thousands of people from 120 high-rise buildings in Seef District, Diplomatic Area and large parts of Manama on Tuesday when fire alarms went off because of a tremor, following a massive earthquake that struck Iran.
Many working in the country's financial centre were sent home amid fears of an aftershock.
The 7.8 magnitude quake was the second in a week that originated in Iran and spread tremors across the region, which killed at least 35 people in southwestern Pakistan and injured 27 in Iran.
However, Kleiver said architects would not make any structural changes to future buildings as they would not be needed in Bahrain.
However, other earthquake-resistant modifications could easily be made. "The load forces from wind are greater than those felt in the tremors," he said.
"All high-rise buildings move and because Bahrain is an island surrounded by sea, one of the main things to keep in mind during design is that there will be substantial wind load on the building. The loading is greater from wind than the possibility of earthquake movement."
Bahrain has activated its Disaster Management Centre following an urgent meeting by National Disaster Management Committee members.
Last week's earthquake that struck near Iran's nuclear plant in Bushehr killed around 40 people and left hundreds injured. – TradeArabia News Service