UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The April 2016 Muisne (Ecuador) Earthquake : Behaviour of Low-rise RC Frames with Masonry Infill, and Recommendations for New Construction Kaminski, Sebastian; Schacher, Tom; Lopez, Jorge; Franco, Guillermo; Molina Hutt, C.; Roux-Fouillet, Guillaume; Carlevaro, Nadia; Stone, Harriette


The 16th April 2016 Mw 7.8 Muisne earthquake in Ecuador caused nearly 700 fatalities, 230,000 injuries and over 35,000 damaged or collapsed homes, leaving 140,000 without adequate housing. The majority of the damaged structures, in particular in urban and peri-urban areas, were constructed from low-rise reinforced concrete frames with unreinforced masonry infill. It was evident by their design that these buildings are generally non-engineered, or at least not correctly engineered, for seismic loads. This paper draws on observations made primarily from the EEFIT reconnaissance mission, augmented from other missions to the affected region, to describe the typical types of damage and failures seen in this building taxonomy, and why these are likely to have occurred. The paper then explores confined masonry as an option for new construction. An example is presented of the successful implementation of confined masonry post-event in the affected region, describing the approach that was adopted, in particular training, promotion and dissemination of the confined masonry technique, as well as the challenges of influencing people’s existing perceptions and styles. The paper concludes with a summary of why confined masonry is considered to be a durable, resilient, easy to construct and appropriate form of new construction in Ecuador.

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