Dr Minghao Li, a structural timber engineer at the University of Canterbury and his team, including researchers from Tongji Univeristy in China are currently looking for low-cost alternatives to build earthquake-resistant buildings.

They recently shook a 8.8 metre building that was constructed out of cheap materials readily available in New Zealand to see the impact. The results showed that there was a very small amount of minor damage.

Earthquake-resistant buildings are usually expensive to construct due to the use of imported high-grade steel and engineered timber framing. For developers, the costs are a barrier to construction as to make a margin on sales or rental upon completion of the building proves too costly. The materials Li used in the test is a “hybrid system” of steel framing that is commonly-used, and, light structural timber. This created a stronger system that can resist large earthquakes and try to minimise the damage predominantly for multi-storey buildings and residential applications.

However, it must be noted that at present the hybrid system are currently not very popular due to building standards having not incorporated such systems yet.

Via Stuff. Read the full article here.