Technology designed to make large buildings safer in the event of an earthquake is now being adapted to homes.
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A new and affordable building system is being tested at the University of Canterbury. Source: 1 NEWS
An affordable new building system being tested by Professor Tim Sullivan and his team at the University of Canterbury
So far, he says, the results are promising.
“We hope to give New Zealanders an option for a high-performance, low-damage housing system so that if we have large earthquakes like the Canterbury earthquakes – we even run simulations of the Alpine fault that would occur in an alpine fault – we can prove we don’t get any damage, we don’t get any fissures In paint, we have no problems.”
Damage minimization is that units are known with basic insulation systems.
They are usually used in commercial buildings but a version has now been developed for homes.
Damage to a house in Sumner following the 2011 earthquake. Source: 1 NEWS
It’s a cost-effective step, says engineering doctoral student Tom Francis.
“A commercial base insulator could cost about $10,000, so if we’re about to use 15 or 20 of them in an apartment building, that’s about the same building cost, so we made it about 20 times cheaper than that.”
Insulators are like traditional stilts: they sit under the foundations of the house and include steel plates that can move around the shock absorbers.
The team now wants to partner with construction companies to develop the technology further.
They also plan to test without the base insulators.
“The house will just act like a normal house and we’ll leave all the contents in it and expect to see major cracks and damage… Use that as a good comparison so people can understand the improvement in performance you get with base insulators.”
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