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Apr 22, 2024

What are Anti-Seismic Residential Projects?

After the devastating earthquake that hit southern Turkey and northern Syria,  on February the 6th 2023, the 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquakes, people started to worry about the safety of the houses they own or are willing to buy, especially in Turkey as it has an active real estate market. So, in this article we will talk about the anti-seismic buildings, how they are being built and what standards should they contain to become safe for living in?


How do earthquakes happen?

Earthquakes happen when the surface of the earth shakes as a result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth’s lithosphere which creates seismic waves. Its intensity can be weak enough that people cannot feel, and violent enough to move objects, throw people into the air, and destroy infrastructure, resulting in destruction across entire cities.

According to World Atlas, there are so many countries that are exposed to earthquakes, including:

  • Japan.
  • Indonesia.
  • China.
  • Philippines.
  • Iran.
  • Turkey.
  • Peru
  • United States of America.
  • Italy.
  • Mexico.

Earthquake protection plans in Turkey

Since the 1999 earthquake, the Turkish government has followed new procedures and plans in coordination with municipalities in order to increase protection against earthquakes. Among the most important of which is to design earthquake-resistant buildings. This has appeared clear during previous years by demolishing old buildings and reconstructing new ones built on seismic standards. This is done according to a certain system and criteria, in order to make buildings stronger against earthquakes. This governmental plan to face earthquakes and renew the Turkish cities has shown clearly in the large and most populated cities like Istanbul, Ankara, and many others. 


Features of anti-seismic buildings

Turkey has witnessed great development over the past decades in many aspects, including infrastructure, industry, education, construction and many others. However, the most important aspect is that the government has been ensuring the safety of its residents, as it is a country exposed to earthquakes. Thus, earthquake insurance has become a mandatory procedure to be taken when constructing a building in Turkey.

Anti-seismic buildings are buildings that are resistant to earthquakes according to specific specifications. The construction of earthquake-resistant buildings in Turkey depends on a number of research and studies that precede the construction process, starting from soil and materials used in the foundations and their compatibility with the land on which the buildings will be constructed. 

In 2007, residential buildings were classified into three types based on a deep study and survey, which are: 

  • Low-risk Buildings.
  • Medium-risk Buildings.
  • Dangerous Buildings.

ِAccording to this classification, buildings that tested dangerous for living were evacuated and demolished; they were replaced with new anti-seismic buildings. As for the medium and low-risk ones, they were armed and supported according to well-studied research and strict controls that ensured increasing their resistance to earthquakes. Worth to mention, all the buildings that were constructed after this decision are resistant to earthquakes with high efficiency.


Are buildings in Istanbul built on earthquake standards? 

The Turkish government is working on a new policy in terms of constructing real estate projects, in Istanbul, in particular, and in Turkey, in general, in order to make it resistant to earthquakes. However, we have to know that earthquakes are natural powers that are out of the hands of humans. Although Japan is one of the major countries in the world that are ready to convert earthquakes, its buildings are exposed to some damage from time to time, especially if the seismic waves are strong. 

Istanbul is the industrial capital of Turkey, that’s why it witnessed a significant growth within the urban revolution plan that the Turkish government started years ago. We can also say that due to the importance of Istanbul, it received great attention from the government, resulting in new modern buildings and complexes built to earthquake standards. 

Measures taken into account when constructing anti-seismic building are:

  • Solid and strong foundations.
  • Shock-resistant side design.
  • Building standards help dissipate vibration energy.
  • Building reinforcement.
  • Construction flexibility.
  • The quality of the building and the materials used in its construction.


Turkish laws for anti-seismitic real estate

In order to ensure the safety of people in Turkey, the Turkish government obliged construction companies to a number of laws and regulations, including: 

Turkish Building Code (TBC)

The Turkish Building Code (TBC) sets minimum standards for the construction of earthquake-resistant buildings in Turkey, including anti-seismic design and construction.
It also defines procedures for assessing building seismic risk and retrofitting existing buildings to improve their resistance to anticipated earthquakes or natural disasters.

Land Registry Law

According to the Real Estate Registry Law, potential buyers should know any seismic risks before buying a property, in order to ensure that buyers are aware of any risks before purchasing.
List of earthquake damage mitigation
This regulation specifies requirements for the construction of new buildings, or modifying existing ones, to ensure their resistance to earthquakes, including the use of high quality materials and employing earthquake-resistant features. 

Building Inspection Act

This law allows for regular inspections of buildings to assess their resistance to earthquakes. It aims to ensure that new buildings in Turkey are constructed to be anti-seismic and that existing buildings are modernized to improve their seismic performance in order to reduce the risk of damage and loss of lives when an earthquake hits some area.

Disaster and Emergency Management in Turkey "AFAD"

The Disaster and Emergency Management Department supervises earthquake-resistant construction in Turkey. AFAD provides guidance and recommendations to building owners, architects and engineers to ensure the construction of earthquake-resistant buildings in Turkey.

Sometimes people’s lack of knowledge in terms of  the Turkish laws and regulations that deal with the issue of buildings’ conformity to earthquake resistance and natural disasters, make them unable to decide or feel lost about choosing their own property. 


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