From Code to Practice: Challenges for Building Code Implementation And the Further Direction of Housing Earthquake Safety

Earthquake falls in the category of hazards which have low frequency probability ofoccurrence in a given area but highly disastrous consequences. The occurrence of anearthquake cannot be prevented nor predicted with any precision at present. Thecatalogue of earthquakes in India prepared by India Metrological Department (IMD) listsmore than 1200 earthquakes of magnitude 5 on the Richter scale which have occurred inIndia from the year 1505 to 2006, (about 90 of these belong to the period before 1897). Earthquake zoning map of India classifies 59% of land area prone to earthquakes of MSKVII and higher Intensities (See Figure. 1). Thousands of masonry buildings have beendamaged or totally destroyed in some of the moderate to major earthquakes withMagnitudes 6. 0 to 8. 7 on Richter scale. A few of the better known damaging earthquakesare shown in TABLE 1 with the numbers of lives lost. The experience in the recentearthquakes in Kachchh district in Gujarat State in 2001 and in Jammu & Kashmir in 2005has created high concern about earthquake damages in the Government circles in thecountry.