Taiwan experiences frequent earthquakes. The Ministry of the Interior and National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering recently revised the seismic design code with a focus on strengthening the ability of so-called "weakling" buildings to resist earthquakes.
Over 72 percent of buildings in Taipei were built over 30 years ago. It is the city or county with the most severe aged building issue. Taiwan experiences frequent earthquakes. Therefore, testing buildings' structural safety performance and ability to resist earthquakes is crucial. This year, the Ministry of the Interior revised the "Seismic Design Specifications and Commentary of Buildings." It took effect in October.
Wu Hsin-hsou, Director-General, Construction and Planning Agency: “It was necessary, and we'll need to convince more serious cases to implement it as soon as possible. The rest can gradually make the improvements, otherwise it will be highly difficult to reinforce all the reinforcements done in the past. ”
A 2018 earthquake collapsed a building belonging to Cloud Gate. At what are referred to as "weakling" buildings, the lower stories collapse, while upper stories remain intact. This happens because the lower stories are usually open spaces used by the public and with arcades, which means they are less resistant to earthquakes. Increasing the earthquake resistance of "weakling" buildings was the focus of the revised specifications, which the MOI formulated with the assistance of the National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering.
Chou Chung-che, Director General, NCREE: “Some are privately owned but used for public use. The government previously enacted laws to compel them to undergo so-called earthquake resistance assessments. Any shortcomings identified by the assessments have to be resolved. This section was put into the specifications.”
The revised specifications require buildings located near active faults to strengthen their earthquake resistance. Taking the Qishan Fault as an example, the earthquake resistance of newly constructed buildings will be 20 to 30 percent higher under the revised specifications. The Construction and Planning Agency said it will place buildings that are privately owned but provided for public use such as hotels, department stores, or hospitals on the priority list for public safety inspections to ensure their structural safety. They will be required to make improvements if their earthquake resistance is substandard.