Report # 99 : Traditional Nawari house in Kathmandu Valley

by Dina D’Ayala, Samanta S. R. Bajracharya

The traditional newari house is usually of rectangular plan shape and developed over three storeys. The depth of the plan is usually about six metres with façades of various widths but most commonly between 4 to 8 metres (see also Korn 1976, and NSET-Nepal 2000). The organisation of the house is usually vertical, over 3 storeys, with a spine wall running through the height, creating front and back rooms. At the upper storey the spine wall is sometimes replaced by a timber frame system so as to create a larger continuous space. The staircase is usually a single flight to one side of the plan. The typical interstorey height is quite modest, between 2.20 and 2.50 m., including the floor structure. The bathroom, where present, is found at ground floor, while the kitchen is on the top floor, usually directly under the roof. The first floor is traditionally used as bedrooms, while the second floor is used as living room and for visitors’ reception. There are essentially two types of clusters of houses, either in long arrays, or around a court or chauk . In some cases the two types of clusters are adjacent with some units in common. In the arrays each house has front and back façade free. The construction of each unit is usually independent so that the facades are not continuum over party walls but each unit forms a separate cell. In such cases connection between façades and sidewalls are usually very good. The most interesting characteristic of these buildings both from an architectural and seismic point of view is the presence of the timber frame. Usually at ground floor, on the facade, to provide an open space for workshops or shops. It is also found internally at the upper storeys. In some cases the masonry only forms the outer shell while the internal structure is all made of timber elements. In the better built example of this typology there are a number of construction details, usually made of timber, which, coupled with the brick masonry walls, substantially improve the seismic performance of the overall structure. These features are best preserved in older examples. Currently these buildings are substantially being altered by use of western materials and technology, typically adding concrete frames as upper storeys. This type of intervention highly increases the vulnerability of the existing buildings.


Report # 92 : Historic, braced frame timber buildings with masonry infill (‘Pombalino’ buildings)

by Rafaela Cardoso, Mario Lopes, Rita Bento, Dina D’Ayala

Pombalino buildings (see Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4) are historic masonry buildings that can be identified by the presence of a three-dimensional timber structure (named “gaiola pombalina”), which is enclosed in internal masonry walls above the first floor. The roofs are built with timber trusses clad with ceramic tiles and the floors are made of timber boards laid on timber joists. Ground floor walls are roughly dressed stone masonry supporting a system of vaults made of clay tiles, with stone arches. Foundations are made of short and small-diameter timber piles connected by a timber grid. These buildings were built after the 1755 earthquake when fear of new earthquakes led to the enforcement of anti-seismic provisions, such as establishing a maximum number of stories and introducing an interior timber structure called “gaiola.” The buildings originally were mixed-use with commercial enterprises on the ground floor and residences on the upper floors. During the 20th century, most Pombalino buildings underwent substantial refurbishment when they were converted and occupied entirely by banks and companies. For the buildings that have maintained their original uses, the main problems result from poor maintenance.The expected collapse mechanisms due to earthquake actions are the overturning of facades (out-of-plane) or shear failure at the plane of the walls at ground floor level (global shear mechanism), leading to a global collapse mechanism. Typical seismic strengthening of these buildings includes the introduction of a concrete/steel ring beam at the level of the roof eaves. The introduction of steel elements/pre-stressed cables or of anchors connecting parallel masonry walls is also common. Steel elements are also used to connect detached timber elements from the floors and gaiola to the masonry. New techniques applying new materials like Fibre Reinforced Polymers (FRP) are also used to increase the strength of the connections of timber elements that compose the gaiola.


Report # 91 : Single-storey brick masonry house (EMSB1)

by Mehedi Ansary

This is a one-story brick masonry house of fired bricks with cement or lime mortar; roof is either GI sheet or another material. These houses can be seen throughout Bangladesh. During the 1918 Srimangal, 1930 Dhubri, and other recent earthquakes, this type of housing suffered heavy damage. Houses with a continuous lintel suffered less.


Report # 85 : One family one storey house, also called “wagon house”

by Maria D. Bostenaru, Ilie Sandu

This is one of the oldest housing types in Romania with a statistically significant number of buildings in existence. The overwhelming majority of residential buildings in Romania have been built after 1850. Today. only churches remain from the previous “post-Byzantine” period. Issues relating to the age of historical buildings of cultural value are also discussed within the report. This urban housing type is particularly common in Romanian towns, especially in the southern part of the country, such as in the former Wallachia. It is a middle-class family house constructed from the end of the 19th century until the Second World War. The houses were designed to be semidetached, but have been constructed individually. Thus, in most of cases, the adjacent building, separated structurally, is a totally different construction type, The design of this housing is astonishingly homogeneous, especially considering the relatively lengthy time span the construction has been practiced. The single-unit housing is generally characterized by a rectangular, elongated-shape plan, with an entrance on the long side. The load-bearing system consists of two longitudinal unconfined brick masonry walls and several transversal unconfined brick walls, usually 28 cm thick, which form a wagon-like arrangement — hence the name of this building type. The horizontal structural system is made out of wood plates and joists separated by a distance of 0.70 m. Buildings of this type have been affected by damaging earthquakes in November 1940 and in March 1977, and by two earthquakes of lower magnitudes in 1986 and 1990. They performed well except for the occurrence of some minor cracking in the plaster.


Report # 84 : A single-family, two-storey house with brick walls and timber floors

by Maria D. Bostenaru, Ilie Sandu

This type of urban housing was constructed in Romania in the 1930s as single-family housing for the middle class. Typical buildings described in this report are one- or two-story buildings with load-bearing masonry walls. These buildings called “vila” in Romania are characterized by a rectangular plan and are usually semidetached; they share a common wall with the adjacent building. A great variety of buildings exist of this structural type. The building type described in this report has load-bearing brick masonry walls constructed of mud mortar. The floor structure consists of timber planks and joists. These buildings are located in an area well-known to be earthquake-prone. The epicenter is located close to Vrancea and earthquakes exceeding magnitude 7.0 on the Richter scale recur every 30 to 35 years. The latest earthquake of this severity was the March 1977 Vrancea earthquake (M 7.2). However, the building type described in this report is located in the Bucharest area and although affected by the November 1940 Naruja (Vrancea) earthquake (M 7.4), it usually performed well during the 1940 and 1977 earthquakes. The most common type of damage was in the form of cracks and falling chimneys. Some of the older buildings of this type have been affected by other past earthquakes. Because this construction is common for many Romanian buildings of the “Brâncovenesc” architectural style, new retrofit techniques have been developed in recent years (in addition to the techniques used after the 1977 earthquake).


Report # 80 : Low-strength dressed stone masonry buildings

by Ravi Sinha, Vijaya R. Ambati


Construction of stone masonry buildings using easily available local materials is a common practice in both urban and rural parts of India. Stone masonry houses are used by the middle class and lower middle class people in urban areas, and by all classes in rural areas. In rural areas, these buildings are generally smaller in size and are used as single-story, single-family housing. In urban areas, these buildings are up to 4 stories high and are used for multifamily housing. This is a typical load-bearing construction, in which both gravity and lateral loads are resisted by the walls supported by strip footing. If the locally available stone is soft, dressed (shaped) stones are commonly used and can be chiselled at low- or moderate cost. Mud or lime mortar has been used in traditional constructions; however, more recently, cement mortar is being increasingly used. Because soft sandstone is readily available in the Kutch region of Gujarat in the western part of India, stone block masonry constructions are widely used for both single- and multi-story constructions. These houses are usually built by local artisans without formal training and the resulting constructions are structurally weak and incapable of resisting large seismic forces. In the Kutch region, which was affected by the 2001 Bhuj earthquake, this construction type is commonly used with a gable end timber roof truss or RCC roof slabs. Thousands of these houses collapsed in the 2001 Bhuj earthquake resulting in the deaths of large numbers of people. This construction type is inherently unsuitable for areas of moderate-to-high seismic hazard, such as the Kutch region of Gujarat.

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Report # 75 : Stone masonry apartment building

by Mohammed Farsi, Farah Lazzali, Yamina Ait-M

This is a typical residential construction type found in most Algerian urban centers, constituting 40 to 50% of the total urban housing stock. This construction, built mostly before the 1950s by French contractors, is no longer practiced. Buildings of this type are typically 4 to 6 stories high. The slabs are wooden structures or shallow arches supported by steel beams (jack arch system). Stone masonry walls, usually 400 to 600 mm thick, have adequate gravity load-bearing capacity; however, their lateral load resistance is very low. As a result, these buildings are considered to be highly vulnerable to seismic effects.


Report # 74 : Uncoursed rubble stone masonry walls with timber floor and roof

by Yogeshwar K. Parajuli, Jitendra K Bothara, Bijay K. Upadhyay

This is a typical rural housing construction in the hills and mountains throughout Nepal. It is a traditional construction practice followed for over 200 years. These buildings are basically loose-fitting, load-bearing structures constructed of uncoursed rubble stone walls in mud mortar, with timber floors and roofs. They are expected to be extremely vulnerable to the effects of earthquakes due to their lack of structural integrity.


Report # 73 : Unreinforced Brick Masonry Apartment Building

by Marjana Lutman, Miha Tomazevic

This construction was commonly used for residential buildings in all Slovenian towns, and it constitutes up to 30% of the entire housing stock in Slovenia. The majority of these buildings were built between 1920 and 1965. They are generally medium-rise, usually 4 to 6 stories high. The walls are unreinforced brick masonry construction laid in lime/cement mortar. In some cases, the wall density in the longitudinal direction is significantly smaller than in the transverse direction. In pre-1950 construction, there are mainly wooden floor structures without RC tie-beams. In post-1950s construction, there are concrete floors with RC bond-beams provided in the structural walls. Roof structures are either made of wood (pitched roofs) or reinforced concrete (flat roofs). Since this construction was widely practiced prior to the development of the seismic code (the first such code was issued in 1964), many buildings of this type exceed the allowable number of stories permitted by the current seismic code (maximum 2 or 3 stories for unreinforced masonry construction). Buildings of this type have been exposed to earthquake effects in Slovenia. However, this construction type experienced the most significant damage in the 1963 Skopje, Macedonia, earthquake, which severely damaged or caused the collapse of many buildings.


Report # 70 : Solid brick masonry house with composite hollow clay tile and concrete joist roof slabs

by Virginia I. Rodriguez, Maria I. Yacante, Sergio Reiloba

This housing type is found in the urban areas of San Juan province. It is a one-story, detached or semi-detached building, mainly used as a single-family house. The strength of this construction type is due to its solid brick walls confined with concrete tie-beams and tie-columns. The roof slabs are of composite concrete and masonry hollow clay tile construction, which form a diaphragm tied to the walls. The deficiency of this type of construction is found in the slabs which suffer serious deterioration due to the effects of humidity. This housing type is expected to have good seismic behavior.