We live on the edge of the San Andreas fault, one of the largest fault lines in California. The San Francisco bay area is known, among other things, for the 1906 San Francisco and 1989 Loma Prieta earthquakes. So how does that impact my architectural design plans?
I educate my clients about design elements to help resist lateral forces, also known as shear to help a wall from racking over. But it is important to remember that building codes only require that a structure is designed so that people can safely exit the building, neither that they can exit uninjured nor that the structure won’t be destroyed.
Since we don’t have to upgrade an existing house, (only meet code on the addition or upgrade), I also talk to them on another level – is there something special in the house that they don’t want to be destroyed. If so, we look at the design differently. For instance if a client has an extensive wine collection we take that in consideration.
If your have more interested in the subject try this story from NPA about Designing Bridges in Earthquake Country.
Photo Credit: USGS