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Seeking Low-Cost Seismic Protection for Urban Masonry in an Unstable Terrain

Earthquakes pose a significant threat to housing in developing countries. The citizens of these countries often lack the financial means to sufficiently protect their homes against seismic actions. In accordance with the eleventh UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), steps need to be taken to protect these vulnerable populations from the looming possibility of a severe earthquake. Specifically, the geographic location of Peru designates it as an especially earthquake-prone country, and many of its citizens cannot afford seismic reinforcement for their homes. Middle-class, urban residents, such as those in Lima, Peru often reside in informally constructed confined masonry houses which, in the case of a severe earthquake, would likely suffer significant damage or even collapse. For this reason, the seismic protection market is increasingly narrowing its focus to low-cost solutions. This report summarizes the existing low-cost propositions and discusses to what extent they would provide a feasible option for the aforementioned target population in Peru. Finding that even these “low-cost” solutions are out of reach for most of the middle-class residents of Lima, this report makes an alternate proposition. Rocking isolation offers great potential as an innovative and economical seismic protection alternative, but it has yet to be implemented as low-cost housing reinforcement. This emerging system of seismic protection could fill a gap in the market as it may provide a sufficiently low-cost accessible manner of protecting confined masonry homes.

Earthquakes pose a significant threat to housing in developing countries. The citizens of these countries often lack the financial means to sufficiently protect their homes against seismic actions. In accordance with the eleventh UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), steps need to be taken to protect these vulnerable populations from the looming possibility of a severe earthquake. Specifically, the geographic location of Peru designates it as an especially earthquake-prone country, and many of its citizens cannot afford seismic reinforcement for their homes. Middle-class, urban residents, such as those in Lima, Peru often reside in informally constructed confined masonry houses which, in the case of a severe earthquake, would likely suffer significant damage or even collapse. For this reason, the seismic protection market is increasingly narrowing its focus to low-cost solutions.

This report summarizes the existing low-cost propositions and discusses to what extent they would provide a feasible option for the aforementioned target population in Peru. Finding that even these “low-cost” solutions are out of reach for most of the middle-class residents of Lima, this report makes an alternate proposition. Rocking isolation offers great potential as an innovative and economical seismic protection alternative, but it has yet to be implemented as low-cost housing reinforcement. This emerging system of seismic protection could fill a gap in the market as it may provide a sufficiently low-cost accessible manner of protecting confined masonry homes.

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Undergraduate Research Analyst:

Sam Borton

Undergraduate Project Manager:

JuliaGrace Walker

Graduate Advisor:

Kostas Kalfas

In-Country Partner:

Dr. Marcial Blondet

Global Development Lab Portfolio Manager:

Corrie A. Harris, M.A.

Hunt Institute Affiliate:

Dr. Nicos Makris

Southern Methodist University

Lyle School of Engineering

Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity

Global Development Lab

Summer 2020

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Table of Contents

ABSTRACT ____________________________________________________________________ 4

BACKGROUND ________________________________________________________________ 5

I. FOCUS _______________________________________________________________________ 6

II. PURPOSE _____________________________________________________________________ 8

MARKET ANALYSIS ____________________________________________________________ 11

I. TECHNICAL BACKGROUND ______________________________________________________ 11

II. MARKET DESCRIPTION _________________________________________________________ 12

III. MARKET TRENDS/STABILITY _____________________________________________________ 14

IV. MARKET SEGMENTATION: Low-Cost Solutions ______________________________________ 15

V. TARGET MARKET ______________________________________________________________ 17

LOW-COST SEISMIC PROTECTION ________________________________________________ 17

COST COMPARISON ___________________________________________________________ 20

LOW-COST ROCKING ISOLATION _________________________________________________ 22

CURRENT ROCKING ISOLATION EXAMPLES ________________________________________ 23

RECOMMENDATION __________________________________________________________ 24

APPENDIX A: _________________________________________________________________ 25

Sustainable Development Goals ______________________________________________________ 25

TABLE OF FIGURES ____________________________________________________________ 26

REFERENCES _________________________________________________________________ 27

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"Part of our role as structural engineers is the design and construction of structures that

are affordable to the local society and meet acceptable performance levels at present

and the years to come without compromising the ability of future generations to use

them, maintain them and benefit from them."

Nicos Makris, Ph.D., Hunt Institute Fellow

Addy Family Centennial Professor in Civil Engineering,

Southern Methodist University

Lyle School of Engineering

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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ABSTRACT

Earthquakes pose a significant threat to housing in developing countries. The

citizens of these countries often lack the financial means to sufficiently protect their homes

against seismic actions. In accordance with the eleventh UN Sustainable Development

Goal (SDG), steps need to be taken to protect these vulnerable populations from the

looming possibility of a severe earthquake. Specifically, the geographic location of Peru

designates it as an especially earthquake-prone country, and many of its citizens cannot

afford seismic reinforcement for their homes. Middle-class, urban residents, such as

those in Lima, Peru often reside in informally constructed confined masonry houses

which, in the case of a severe earthquake, would likely suffer significant damage or even

collapse. For this reason, the seismic protection market is increasingly narrowing its focus

to low-cost solutions.

This report summarizes the existing low-cost propositions and discusses to what

extent they would provide a feasible option for the aforementioned target population in

Peru. Finding that even these “low-cost” solutions are out of reach for most of the middleclass

residents of Lima, this report makes an alternate proposition. Rocking isolation

offers great potential as an innovative and economical seismic protection alternative, but

it has yet to be implemented as low-cost housing reinforcement. This emerging system

of seismic protection could fill a gap in the market as it may provide a sufficiently low-cost

accessible manner of protecting confined masonry homes.

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Figure 1: Compliments of Dr. Marcial Blondet’s research

BACKGROUND

Peru is located on the western edge of South America, one of the most seismically

active regions of the world, where informal construction with confined masonry is

common. During strong earthquakes, these buildings can suffer significant damage.

Base isolation with rubber bearings or sliding pads can provide solutions to this problem.

These techniques, however, are too expensive or of equivocal quality for the majority of

the population. It is proposed that kinematic rocking isolation using rocking columns

could provide an affordable solution for the seismic protection of masonry buildings. This

market analysis is meant to investigate the existing low-cost seismic protection market

and identify what is missing.

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The ultimate goal of this project is to identify viable solutions to be tested to

minimize structural damage from earthquakes in multi-story masonry buildings in Peru

and other parts of the world. A future technical approach will involve the development of

a finite element model of a typical masonry building in Peru. It is hoped that this project

will demonstrate that kinematic isolation is a safe, and innovative low-cost solution

for the protection of masonry buildings in developing countries located in seismic

regions. To learn more about this project and its future phases, visit the Hunt Institute

Digest.

I. FOCUS

The focus of this report will be to address the eleventh UN SDG which seeks to

ensure that growth in housing and urban development is safe, equitable, and

environmentally conscious. Peru’s shortcomings in this area are made especially evident

by severe earthquakes, as the lack of safe and equitable urban development creates a

disparity in who is most affected. Peru is located in a seismic zone where the South

American Tectonic Plate moves toward the sea over the Nazca Tectonic Plate, creating

a reverse fault mechanism and causing earthquakes as a result of the thrust from the

subduction fault. According to Volcano Discovery, Peru endured 81 earthquakes in May

2020. [1] The chart in Figure 1 maps the number of earthquakes and their severity over a

ninety-day span. Evidently, Peruvians live with earthquakes as a frequent threat.

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Figure 2: Frequency and severity of earthquakes over a ninety-day span in Peru

This report centers around UN Target 11.5 which states, “By 2030, significantly

reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially

decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by

disasters...with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations.” [2] It is

beyond the scope of this analysis to focus on seismic protection solutions for adobe

shelter in rural areas, as housing in rural areas is an entirely different issue with a different

solution set. Rather, this report will focus on seismic protection solutions for confined

masonry urban housing. Developing countries are estimated to account for 95% of

imminent urban expansion, and thus, disaster-protected infrastructure is vital in the urban

areas of the world. [3]

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II.

PURPOSE

Peru is located on the western edge of South America, one of the most seismically

active regions of the world. According to the European Commission’s Index for Risk

Management (INFORM), Peru ranks 62 nd in the world for INFORM Risk, which combines

metrics for hazard & exposure, vulnerability, and lack of coping capacity. [4] When

narrowed to earthquakes specifically, however, the situation appears much worse. Peru

has the 9 th “most risk for a Level VIII earthquake” as assigned by the Modified Mercalli

Intensity (MMI) Scale. [5] This magnitude, according to the United States Geological

Survey (USGS), corresponds to damage that is “slight in buildings designed to be

earthquake resistant, but severe in some poorly built structures.” [4] The Global Facility for

Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) notes that in Peru, “more than sixty-four

percent of schools are highly vulnerable to earthquakes,” and their study concluded that

only eight percent of schools met seismic resistance standards, though that study was

limited to the Lima metropolitan area. [6] A World Bank report ranks Peru 20 th in economic

risk from multiple hazards. [7] As can be seen in Table 1, only 1.4% of Peru’s land area is

at overlapping risk from floods, earthquakes, and landslides, but that includes 30.4% of

their population and 43.9% of their GDP. [8] When isolated to earthquakes and floods

alone, those figures jump to 4% of land area, 41.5% of population, and 53.7% of GDP at

risk. [8]

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Table 1: Peru’s Economic Risk from Multiple Hazards

Floods, earthquakes, &

landslides

Earthquakes & floods

alone

Land 1.4% 4%

Population 30.4% 41.5%

GDP 43.9% 53.7%

Table 1: Peru's Economic Risk from Multiple Hazards

The 2007 earthquake on the central coast of Peru alone resulted in an estimated

$2,000,000,000 in damages. [8] While these figures have prompted increased awareness,

foreign aid, and government action for better preparedness and recovery, these

responses are often focused on large population centers. From 1995 to 2007, the National

Information System on Disaster Prevention and Management (SINPAD) showed that the

areas most affected by disasters were some of the most poverty-stricken as well.

The 64.6% of Peruvians living below the poverty line are especially vulnerable to

natural disasters. [8] Masonry buildings are common in Peru. Their design that is not based

on codes and standards and their construction that is carried out without professional or

certified engineering, render these buildings with confined masonry is common in Peru

and is much less safe than a professionally designed and constructed masonry home.

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Figure 3: Compliments of Dr. Marcial Blondet’s research

A presentation from Dr. Marcial Blondet and César Loaiza informed the following

two categorizes.

Building performance during earthquakes:

1. completely operational

2. operational

3. survival

4. nearly collapsed

5. collapsed [9]

Peruvian earthquakes:

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1. frequent (approx. every 43 years)

2. occasional (approx. every 72 years),

3. rare (approx. every 475 years)

4. very rare (approx. every 970 years) [9]

Examining multiple types of construction methods common in Peru, they found that

while every building remained at least “operational” following a “frequent” earthquake, the

picture soon became bleaker. Professionally-built confined masonry, common for the

upper class in urban areas, is likely to stand up to an earthquake unless it falls in the “very

rare” category. [9] They noted that in the case of a “rare” or “very rare” earthquake, informal

construction will likely take severe damage or even collapse completely. [9]

Many techniques for seismic protection of buildings have been developed over the

years, and they have proven effective. These technologies, though, have focused on

developed countries in seismically active areas such as California, Japan, and New

Zealand. Currently, due to the expense of materials and lack of accessibility, only the

most affluent populations in developing countries currently have access to these

technologies. Consequently, there lies great significance in the development of an

accessible, low-cost seismic protection system.

MARKET ANALYSIS

I. TECHNICAL BACKGROUND

The damage caused to masonry buildings from earthquakes typically arises

because the walls, which are non-structural elements, are especially thin and brittle. The

walls cannot handle the stress developed due to the shaking, and several cracks that are

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typically formed in the wall corners, sometimes continue until the walls ultimately

collapse. [10] For this reason, seismic protection mechanisms are sorely needed in areas

where design that is not in accordance with codes and standards is common. One

frequently discussed technique for protecting masonry structures is base isolation, which

describes a system that creates separation between the structure and the foundation.

This often includes the use of rubber bearings and sliding pads to absorb the kinetic

energy of the earthquake, effectively reducing the extent to which buildings are damaged

due to earthquakes. Seismic protection expert James Kelly writes that “time and time

again, we have seen base-isolated buildings emerge from an earthquake relatively

unscathed compared with their neighbors” and “rubber bearings could bring much needed

safety and security to buildings in earthquake-prone developing countries, preventing

costly property damage and saving countless lives.” [11] As noted, though, these

mechanisms need to have an emphasis on being low-cost and accessible to urban

populations in developing countries.

II.

MARKET DESCRIPTION

Some major players in the large-scale seismic reinforcement market include

Simpson Strong-Tie Company Inc., Hyundai Steel Company, West Fraser Timber Co.

Ltd., AreclorMittal, Toray Industries, Inc., LafargeHolcim Ltd., Tata Steel Limited, and

BASF SE. [12] These companies are currently strengthening their market position by

increasing their research and development activities to produce technological

advancements. The target audience for most of these corporations are construction

companies in industrialized countries at high-risk for earthquakes. This includes

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government-contracted companies working on public infrastructure and companies

interested in constructing seismically protected buildings in the private sector.

These corporations and others are working on seismic isolation primarily in urban

areas of developed countries, meaning that these are rather large-scale, expensive

projects. In a Robinson Seismic Limited seismic reinforcement project, they used 135

rubber bearings and 132 slider bearings for the Wellington Regional Hospital in

Australia. [13] The seismic isolation alone cost about $110 per square meter, totaling three

percent of the $165 million construction cost. In another project, they say that seismic

isolation was closer to $140 per square meter, but again close to three percent of the total

cost. [13] The addition of seismic base isolation technology to these construction projects

helps to ensure safety of the occupants and contents of the building in case of an

earthquake, and as an added benefit, the bearings typically don’t need to be replaced

following an earthquake. Another possible benefit is a discount on insurance for buildings

that are seismically isolated. In Japan, owners of base-isolated apartment buildings can

expect a 30% discount on their insurance because of the safety enhancement provided

by the technology. [13] These incentives provide a way to enhance safety in a city, but they

rely on building owners having the resources to do so. When it comes to large downtown

buildings, an employee from the engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger described

the decision to use base isolation as “com[ing] down to judging the economic welfare of

the individual property owner against that of society as a whole” and adds that “Most

developers believe it is a low enough risk to warrant taking a chance.” [14] In the US, a

base isolation system costs roughly $30 to $50 per square foot (about $100 to $160 per

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square meter), or between $600,000 to $1 million for a typical five-story building, adding

about five to ten percent of the total construction cost. [14]

The costs for adding a base isolation system to the construction projects of large

engineering firms that build in urban areas of developed countries do not pose a barrier.

When extrapolated to communities in developing countries, the situation looks much

different. Not only would over $100 per square meter be too significant of a cost, but

products like rubber bearings and sliding pads are not readily accessible in these

communities.

III.

MARKET TRENDS/STABILITY

Focusing specifically on low cost methods of seismic protection, one foundational

trend is the rise in awareness of this industry in general. Not until the late 20 th century did

base isolation become popular, and that trend unsurprisingly began in developed yet

seismically vulnerable locations like Japan and California. In recent years, research has

begun addressing the barriers of cost and access that prevent seismic protection from

reaching similarly vulnerable communities in developing countries. A few different factors

facilitated this shift into the low-cost arena. For one, as international media coverage has

become more prevalent, awareness of international natural disasters has increased, like

earthquakes of the past fifteen years in Haiti, Nepal, Ecuador, Chile, and Indonesia. With

greater awareness comes more foreign aid and attention from the scientific research

community. Along with greater media attention, there is also greater physical accessibility

to some of these developing areas. Improving infrastructure can allow for easier and less

costly transport of materials and engineers to seismically vulnerable communities. Policy

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changes are another factor influencing the low-cost seismic protection market. We have

seen national and local governments update building codes to require structures to be

better protected from earthquakes. For low-income residents of these jurisdictions,

seismic reinforcement is unlikely to be financially accessible. Policy changes and

educational campaigns, though, do not change the reality of cost as a barrier.

Other than both supply and demand increases for general low-cost methods, other

trends are emerging within the low-cost seismic protection market. Many researchers

have emphasized sustainability in their designs for base isolation. This includes utilizing

reused materials as the isolating layer between the foundation and building. Others have

prioritized ease of access, making the case that no matter how inexpensive the materials,

transportation from a non-local manufacturer can significantly raise the price. These

researchers propose solutions that use very basic or locally-produced materials in their

systems of seismic protection.

IV.

MARKET SEGMENTATION: Low-Cost Solutions

Low cost, seismically protective methods of construction are needed across the

developing world in earthquake-prone areas. Residents of these areas often lack the

financial resources required for housing in accordance with building codes, and even with

sufficient funds, engineers and materials can be difficult to access. One study found that

in addition to these barriers, residents of unstable masonry homes are often resistant to

changing their traditional building methods for cultural reasons. [15] Also, due to the

infrequent nature of earthquakes, many are either unaware of the potential dangers or

reason that investing their scarce resources to prevent only the possibility of an

earthquake is simply not worth it. A study in the Handbook on Culture and Urban Disaster

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found that people’s “memories of previous disasters...influence their interpretation of risk

and their response to future disaster.” [16] An example of this would be if consistent

earthquakes are not severe, the conclusion would be there is no need for seismic

protection. This is problematic due to the fact that severe earthquakes do not happen very

often. If one hasn't happened in a person's lifetime, they are less likely to understand the

risks and therefore less likely to take action.

It is estimated that 20% of the world’s population lacks adequate housing. [17] The

poverty rate in Peru is 21.7%, equating to the majority of residents living in masonry

buildings that have not been designed in accordance with the building codes and

standards. [18] Unreinforced masonry housing, though likely to qualify as “adequate

housing,” still poses significant dangers to its occupants in the case of a strong

earthquake. Considering Peru’s geographical location, the question is not if but when the

next big earthquake will strike.

In Nepal, for example, it is estimated that sixty percent of buildings fit this

description. [19] The prevalence of unreinforced masonry construction was a contributing

factor to the significant amount of damage caused by the massive Nepal earthquake in

2015. [20] One study on the reconstruction efforts noted that although “low-strength

masonry” construction failed to withstand the earthquake, it will continue as a primary

building technique due to insufficient funds and lack of access to more resilient materials

and adequate reinforcement technology. [20] The situation in Nepal is just one example. In

Haiti, a primary hazard in the 2010 earthquake was also the poorly-constructed infilled

masonry buildings. A study of the damage described that the earthquake “revealed the

vulnerability of unreinforced masonry.” [21] In the United States, too, cities are taking action

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to prevent the tragedies due to earthquakes associated with unreinforced masonry in

structures. The cities of Portland, OR and Seattle, WA have both released proposals in

recent years to require retrofitting of all unreinforced masonry buildings with seismic

[22, 23]

reinforcements.

This is clearly not an issue that is confined to a single country or community; it is

a global one. Importantly, while it may be feasible in developed countries to simply require

building upgrades to prevent damage from earthquakes, this would be more difficult to

mandate in a less developed country. As was previously explained, Peru is especially

vulnerable to earthquakes due to its geographic position and development status. In

urban areas, residents are likely to live in confined masonry houses. Despite the

perceived upgrade of this type of construction, risk persists due to about 80% of these

homes being built slowly over time, often not following building codes. Homeowners are

generally aware of the risks but lack the resources to mitigate them.

V. TARGET MARKET

Due to the COVID-19, this section is incomplete as the global pandemic has delayed

the selection of an international building site. Our in-country partners in Lima, Peru

continue to advise and collaborate with us in this work. It is our goal to address this

section when safety permits.

LOW-COST SEISMIC PROTECTION

The exposure from international media coverage of earthquakes among other

factors has led to more research of low-cost methods for seismic protection. Researchers

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have proposed several different materials as means for creating a system of base

isolation accessible even to low-income residents of developing countries.

Most existing research focuses on replacing traditionally expensive materials with

low-cost alternatives. Traditional rubber bearings are “relatively large, heavy, and

expensive.” [24] These bearings include alternating rubber layers with laminated steel shim

plates in between, connected via vulcanization. There are several categories of traditional

bearings used in base isolation—lead-rubber bearings (LRB), high-damping natural

rubber bearings (HDNR), friction pendulum bearings, and slider bearings—though the

HDNR bearings with steel shims are the most commonly used variety. [25] Most low-cost

methods of base isolation include a replacement for both the steel and rubber, often

proposing a type of fiber-reinforced elastomeric isolator (FREI).

Some methods have focused on sustainability, examining the potential use of

recycled materials. Turer and Özden examined the potential use of scrap tire pads as

alternative rubber in base isolation. [26] While the technique has not been implemented yet,

they examined a hypothetical case implementing the scrap tire pads for a single-story

masonry house and found that they would successfully reduce the susceptibility of the

house to damage in a strong earthquake. [26] In addition, they specifically noted that “Scrap

Tire Pads (STP) presents advantages such as low-cost technology and no cost pad

production…and environmental issues by recycling scrap tires.” [26] Calabrese, et al.

similarly proposed Recycled Rubber Fiber Reinforced Bearings (RR-FRBs). [27] Another

environmentally-friendly system, developed by Ahmad, Ghani, and Adil, uses demolished

waste as the separation between the building and the foundation. [28] Using a shaking

table, they determined that the sliding of the structure dissipated over 70% of the shaking

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energy, and no cracks were observed in their trial structure. [28] This is another example

of a base isolation system providing seismic protection with an added benefit of

sustainability.

Recognizing the financial inaccessibility of traditional base isolation systems, other

projects have explicitly focused on the cost reduction. Some of these include costeffective

replacements for steel shims often used in rubber bearings. Tan, et al.

suggested an “unsaturated polyester fiber reinforcement.” [24] Other studies proposed a

variety of fibers as steel substitutes, including fiberglass, woven fabric, polyester, and

nylon. Tsiavos et al. did a study using a sand-rubber layer in base isolation. [29] The project

emphasized the importance of local sourcing of materials, noting that fine sand and

recycled tires can be locally acquired. [29] Minimizing shipping costs of materials is another

mechanism to decrease costs associated with the final product. Their experiment was

conducted in association with the SAFER Schools for Nepal project. Another project,

conducted by Nanda, Shrikhande, and Agarwal, proposed marble-marble and marblegeosynthetic

interfaces to improve seismic response of masonry buildings in the

Himalayan regions of India. [30]

While little information exists on the potential implementation of these strategies,

one example is the SAFER project for seismic safety of school buildings in Nepal. This

project recognized the widespread destruction caused by the 2015 Nepal earthquake and

set out to prevent similar effects from future earthquakes. They noted that base isolation

is “prohibitively expensive for many regions,” and they therefore decided to “investigate

low-cost, culturally acceptable, locally-sourced ways of co-producing a similar system.” [31]

The SAFER initiative proposed technology like a 3D topographic mapping system and a

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mobile application for pre- and post-earthquake structural inspections. After identifying

the location and extent of earthquake damage of schools across Nepal, they planned to

conduct testing of several retrofitting techniques with a shaking table. Finally, these

techniques would be matched with the corresponding level of damage they would best

apply to, and community workshops would be held to train people in the affected

communities on how to implement the repair techniques. This project received a nearly

$2,000,000 grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

(EPSRC) in the UK, with which they continue to investigate both the retrofitting of schools

in Nepal and a mobile application to assess the structures.

Another model of implementation is that of the Build Change organization, who

organizes homeowner-driven reconstruction efforts in areas affected by earthquakes.

While not focusing on a specific method of low-cost seismic protection, Build Change

uniquely places control and oversight in the hands of homeowners to ensure their trust in

the reconstruction process. Build Change provides this justification for their work:

“Earthquakes disproportionately affect poor people in developing countries who have no

safety net, no savings or insurance, and no well-off relatives to take them in.” [32] Build

Change is an example of a successful partnership with a community that ensures long

term change by using a bottom-up approach. This is the type of strategy required for

successful implementation of low-cost seismic protection.

COST COMPARISON

Among the various propositions in the low-cost seismic protection space, little

information exists on the cost of implementation. Included in Nanda, Shrikhande, and

Agarwal’s report were costs of their proposed systems, projected at 6 USD per meter and

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5 USD per meter run for the marble-marble and marble-geosynthetic, respectively. [30]

Calabrese, et al. describe Recycled Rubber Fiber Reinforced Bearings (RR-FRBs) that

can be produced for about one hundred euros per bearing while also noting that costs for

traditional bearings can be in the thousands. [27] No matter the minimal cost of the raw

materials, recycled tires accompanied by a type of fiber, the manufacturing process

required with this technique causes a significant cost. On the other hand, some authors

describe their seismic protection system as zero cost. While the cost of materials may be

zero, especially in the case of recycled tires and demolished waste, there is presumably

a cost of transportation. Transportation is a significant issue affecting the cost of existing

low-cost solutions. These added costs of transportation and import fees make these

solutions too expensive to be considered. In addition, despite a surplus of these materials

existing in some areas of the world, that may not be the case in less industrialized

locations.

For implementation in Lima, along with other urban areas of developing countries,

many of these proposed solutions fall short of the accessibility required to reach middle

class urban residents. Any manufactured bearing, despite its attempts at low costs of

materials, will incur too significant of production and transportation costs. Materials like

marble or geosynthetic mesh, as proposed in some solutions, will also be difficult for these

populations to acquire. In addition, many of the existing seismic protection propositions

focus on single-story buildings, and a significant proportion of homes in Lima are multistory.

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LOW-COST ROCKING ISOLATION

In search of a more cost-effective, accessible, and safe method of seismic

protection, one emerging technology appears suitable. Rocking base isolation is a form

of kinematic base isolation that utilizes rocking columns to protect the structure in case of

a seismic event. While little implementation of this technique has taken place, it fills a gap

in the existing methods and therefore merits further exploration such as a demonstration

project. Aside from the possible need for an extra base slab, rocking isolation does not

require any especially unique materials, and therefore the costs associated with acquiring

the materials could be lower than other techniques. The most significant cost would likely

be the expertise of an engineer to install the system properly. This system is anticipated

to be suitable for multi-story buildings, while many other low-cost methods are confined

to single-story homes. Rocking isolation was previously implemented for use in bridges,

and that is the focus of most existing research on the topic. One recent study found that

“both structural rocking and foundation rocking provide effective base isolation” for

buildings. [33] As with most seismic protection methods, there are those that focus on costminimization

and those that do not, so a significant gap in research is the exploration of

low cost rocking isolation for confined masonry buildings, such as those common in urban

areas of Peru.

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CURRENT ROCKING ISOLATION EXAMPLES

Table 2: Instances of Rocking Isolation

Location Application Effectiveness Cost

New Zealand

Wigram Magdala

Bridge

Implemented and

Built

30 million NZD

(~19.6 million USD)

New Zealand

South Rangitikei

Bridge

Implemented and

Built

not available

Chile

VRIS (Vertical

Rocking Isolation

System)

Not Implemented

N/A

Vancouver, Canada Lions’ Gate Bridge

Table 2: Instances of Rocking Isolation

Implemented and

Built

Retrofitting cost

was 4.2 million

CAD (~3.1 million

USD)

Table 2 contains a few examples of rocking isolation systems. The Wigram

Magdala Link Bridge, completed in 2016, utilizes Dissipative Controlled Rocking

(DCR). [34] It was the first bridge in the world to include DCR, and the total construction

cost was about 19.6 million USD. [35] Both the South Rangitikei Bridge in New Zealand

and the Lions’ Gate Bridge in Vancouver contain steel yielding devices to contribute to a

controlled rocking system. [36] The Lions’ Gate Bridge, originally completed in 2000, was

retrofitted in 2014 for about 3.1 million USD. [37] A more theoretical example is the Vertical

Rocking Isolation System (VRIS) developed in Chile. VRIS is supposed to be a “costeffective

alternative” to traditional base isolation and would be used for protecting storage

tanks or machinery. [38] Of course, most of the examples here are not in the low-cost

market, but rather significant industrial projects.

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24

RECOMMENDATION

There is a sense of urgency to find an effective low-cost seismic protection

solution, as the safety of communities in seismically active areas is at stake. Our findings

reveal a significant gap in the seismic protection market and the little-explored area of

rocking isolation has tremendous potential to bridge the gap with implementation for lowcost

multi-story urban housing. In order to further investigate low-cost rocking isolation,

more research is required. This will involve developing a finite element model and, later

on, implementing the system on a scaled-down structure.

MARKET ANALYSIS OF LOW-COST SEISMIC PROTECTION

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25

APPENDIX A:

Sustainable Development Goals

In September 2015, the United Nations developed a comprehensive agenda of

Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030. These goals demonstrated a

worldwide commitment to seventeen goals that address the newest challenges facing an

increasingly global society. These goals are, in short: 1) to eradicate extreme poverty and

ensure equal rights to basic services; 2) to ensure year-round access for everyone to

safe, nutritious, and sufficient food; 3) to achieve universal access to quality health care

services; 4) to reach universal access to quality primary and secondary education while

eliminating gender disparities; 5) to promote policies supporting gender equality; 6) to

ensure complete access to safe and affordable drinking water for all; 7) to make available

affordable, reliable, and modern energy services to everyone; 8) to achieve sustainable

economic growth, especially in Least Developed Countries (LDCs); 9) to facilitate

sustainable industrialization, innovation, and infrastructure development; 10) to reduce

income inequality and enhance representation of developing countries; 11) to promote

universal access to sustainable, safe, and affordable housing; 12) to substantially reduce

the generation of waste; 13) to prioritize and incorporate climate-friendly measures in

policymaking; 14) to combat the pollution and acidification of the world’s bodies of water;

15) to address desertification, poaching, and other threats to life on land; 16) to promote

peace, justice, and strong institutions within and among countries; 17) and to promote

partnerships contributing to sustainable development. [2]

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TABLE OF FIGURES

Figure 1: Compliments of Dr. Marcial Blondet’s research ____________________________________________ 5

Figure 2: Frequency and severity of earthquakes over a ninety-day span in Peru ____________________ 7

Figure 3: Compliments of Dr. Marcial Blondet’s research ___________________________________________ 10

Table 1: Peru's Economic Risk from Multiple Hazards ____________________________________________ 9

Table 2: Instances of Rocking Isolation ________________________________________________________ 23

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27

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