Preventing Mega Disasters in Mega Cities - Code & Construction Challenges in the Indian Subcontinent

Steven Baldridge
President
Baldridge & Associates Structural Engineering, Inc. (BASE), Honolulu

Located adjacent to China, the Indian Subcontinent is also experiencing amazing concentrated urban growth facilitated in part by high-rise commercial and residential construction. These new projects are often of a magnitude and complexity unimaginable even a few decades earlier by the planners, designers, building authorities, and code writers responsible for assuring public safety; however, much of this work is based on traditional, but unfortunately outdated, construction methods and building codes. The recent earthquake that struck Katmandu, Nepal brought to light some of the shortcomings of such building approaches. Many of the newly constructed high-rises in Katmandu suffered irreparable damage that made the buildings unusable. Is this to happen in more densely populated cities in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, resulting in a greater loss of life and impact on society? This presentation discussed the current risks and impediments to change in the design and construction of structures in places of seismic activity.

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