09 July 2020

Interview-P Shah (Elematic)

Temblor tough

Elematic’s pre-cast technology can help to build earthquake-proof housing in India


Every year India records many minor earthquakes and few serious ones. Geographical statistics show that just over half of India’s land is vulnerable to earthquakes. Seismic activity is a fundamental consideration for the country’s rapidly developing housing sector. Today, developers are focusing on the importance of preventive measures to ensure buildings are able to sustain an earthquake.


Precast technology can offer a number of advantages when compared to more traditional construction techniques. Through thorough research and testing it has been determined that they can perform equivalent or even better to a cast-in-place concrete structure in seismic conditions.


Already in highly seismic areas, pre-cast methods are being deployed to make buildings more durable and safer during earthquakes.


Finnish pre-cast housing technology specialist Elematic Oyj in its more than 50 years of operation  has supplied technology to over 100 countries and to every continent.
“When we talk with clients, the seismic concerns of pre-cast technology often come up first and it can even be one of deciding factors when developers make a decision about the technology,” says Prakash Shah, Head of Technical Support, Elematic.


“Two major seismic regions – the West Coast of US and New Zealand have successfully implemented pre-cast widely for varied structures,” Shah says.


Focus in the structural design in seismic areas is much more demanding than with ordinary design. The structural system should be opted during the preliminary analysis. The gravity and lateral load resisting systems may be combined system or those can function separately.


The design of connections of the elements is one of the key aspects.


“All connections must provide sufficient capacity and ductility to serve a wide variety of situations throughout the lifetime of the building,” Shah explains.


Shear wall structural system is often found to be most suited system for building in high seismic regions.


“With implementation of shear wall structural system, the lateral loads due to wind and earthquakes are catered by shear walls while the rest of precast structure is subject to gravity loads and compatibility for lateral movement. This enables simpler connections between different precast elements,” Shah says.


Precast technology is also much efficient in simpler element production, handling at site and easy construction, reducing the time and material consumption.


One of Elematic’s clients in India, the food giant Nestle was keen to make sure its recently erected R&D building was seismic proof.


The building featured a large open area in which the columns were spaced 12 meters apart, having very high floor load of
15 kN/sq.m. in an moderate earthquake prone area. The large span prestressed slabs were supported on prestressed partial precast beams, which in turn were supported on multi-storey precast columns.


“The CIP shear wall and structural topping as diaphragm translate the lateral forces due to earthquake. Different ductile detailing and connection for progressive collapse criteria are addressed for desired behavior of building in high seismic condition,” Shah explains.


It’s not just earthquakes that plague India. Droughts, flash floods, cyclones, avalanches, landslides brought on by torrential rains, and snowstorms all pose threats to the vast country.


Pre-cast concrete technology can help to create higher weather resistance conditions and prevent corrosion, caused by the rough elements.


“Indian harsh weather poses its own challenges to housing construction. The high quality exteriors, created by pre-cast technology can help to prolong the building’s life and reduce the life-cycle cost,” concludes Shah.

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