Aging buildings a major concern for earthquakes: scholar

TAIPEI (The China Post) – The question of Taipei’s aging buildings was raised again after a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck Hualien at 13.01 p.m. on April 18.

The tremors caused a building on Chang’an East Road, Section 2 to lean and push against the next building.

If another earthquake strikes in Taipei, the basin effects and soil liquefaction might cause a serious disaster, experts said, adding that the speed of urban renewal is not fast enough.

According to Chiu Ying-hao (邱英浩), professor at the Department of Urban Development of the University of Taipei, the slow process is due to changes in land ownership and private property rights.

Besides, citizens have different opinions on property values and wish to make profits by selling their land, thus postponing city projects.

Chiu added that after the 921 earthquake, the government raised seismic standards, encouraged earthquake-resistant buildings, and incorporated new earthquake-resistant technologies into construction.

However, only a few buildings are using such technologies and the fundamental problem remains the speed of urban renewal.

For now, most buildings in Taiwan are still dominated by concrete and steel structures. Even though there is already seismic isolation and shock-absorbing technology, it’s still up to constructors to use them.

If you observed structure problems such as cracks in your house, you should invite a structural technician for evaluation and house strengthening.