Factors Affecting Building Design and The Effect of it on Earthquake Resistance

In this article, we will examine how an earthquake-resistant building should be built, mistakes and deficiencies made in the architectural design phase, and what needs attention.

Buildings are generally designed to carry vertical forces. In other words, the walls, furniture, people, in short, the forces under the effect of gravity are vertical loads. However, the earthquake affects buildings in a horizontal plane.

Factors Affecting Building Design

  • Architectural design
  • Local Soil And Geotechnical Conditions
  • Building Materials Used
  • Earthquake and Its Properties
  • Carrier System Design

Architectural design

Experiences gained from earthquakes all over the world reveal that earthquake-resistant building designs start in the architectural design phase. The plan of a building is important for the structural system. The placement of the column beams depends on the possibilities provided by the architectural plan. In addition, the selection of building materials and the effect of the carrier system should be examined in terms of earthquakes.

Some Incorrect and Incomplete Design Decisions In Terms Of Architectural Design

  • Columns and beams to be made smaller than necessary to be hidden in partition walls.
  • Simple and unsymmetrical building forms in plan and height.
  • Continuous load-bearing walls and large volumes without large cross-sectional columns when a wide, spacious and unobstructed area is desired.
  • Exterior spaces.

This and similar approaches make it difficult to create an earthquake-resistant carrier system.

There are two conditions that the building must comply with in terms of earthquake resistance:

  • The Structure Should Be Light: The lightness of the structure will minimize earthquake effects. Filling and partition walls in a reinforced concrete structure should be used to lighten the structure. Large openings in the plan should be avoided.
  • The structure should be as symmetrical as possible: Earthquake resistance can be provided more easily in simple and symmetrical structures.

General Principles in Earthquake Resistant Design

Issues to be Considered in Determining the Framed Carrier System in the Plan

  • Columns must be placed in an axle system. Otherwise, they will cause negativity as they cannot transfer their effects to another.
  • The wheelbase should be as equal as possible.
  • Columns should be placed perpendicular to the facade in the plan. In this way, the columns will better transfer the horizontal effects to the other.
  • Columns must be attached to beams in both directions.
  • The minimum column width should be bw = 300 mm.
  • Columns should be placed equally in two axes. It should be half in one direction and half in the other. Otherwise, the balance will gather to one side and sprains occur on the sides where the rigidity (balance) is weak.
  • The column on one floor should continue to the foundation and the loads should be safely transferred directly to the floor.

Issues to be Considered in Settling of Shear Walls

Increasing the number of floors in buildings requires the use of elements that will provide the necessary horizontal rigidity. In this respect, curtains are elements used to pull the rigidity to the required value against horizontal loads.

The main purpose of curtains is to gain sufficient (rigidity + strength + ductility) to the structure.

  • As in column systems, curtain walls should be placed in an axle system and their axle spacing should be equal or close to the same.
  • Curtains should be placed equally in two directions and the beams should be ductile.
  • Curtains should be overlaid on the floor of the building. Otherwise, the beams in their own plane act as carriers, this is definitely not allowed.
  • Curtain thickness should not be less than 200 mm.


Preliminary design sketch studies in the design of the carrier system will constitute the most important stage of creating a safe structure in the next analysis stages of the project. The next stages should be determining the dimensions of the projected structural system elements and equipping them and carrying out the works to be transferred to the application.


Several factors influence the design process of a building, including:

Government Regulations / Policies

  • RTRW (Regional Spatial Plan)
  • RTRK (City Spatial Plan)
  • GSB (Building Boundary Line), which is the closest distance to the building from the roadside, is calculated from the outer boundary of a dirty water channel, or sewer, to the outer limit of the building face.
  • GSJ (Road Boundary Line), which is the front yard line, or the front boundary of the yard fence that may be erected.
  • KDB (Basic Building Coefficient), which is the ratio between the area of ​​the ground floor of the building on the ground surface and the land area.
  • KLB (Building Area Coefficient), which is the ratio between the area of ​​the entire building floor to the land area.

Budget or Funding

  • Carefulness and carefulness are required in determining aspects of the function and type of building.
  • For buildings built over a long period of time, the economic value of land must be predicted and associated with the economic value of the function.
  • The factors of building efficiency and effectiveness are not always considered by the economics of building engineering.

Aspects of Culture and Tradition

One of the physical manifestations of the customs and culture of the community is reflected in the traditional building, which can be seen from the form of the plan, the appearance of the building, building materials, the structure, and construction system, and its ornaments.

Technological Aspects

A planner is required to always follow technological developments in the method of designing and implementing a building, as well as discoveries in the field of building materials, both for construction and finishing.

Circular Lines of the Sun

The path of the sun will affect the determination of the axle and skin covering the building. In buildings that have an elongated mass shape, efforts are made to ensure that the axle of the building is parallel to the sun’s path so that the wider facades are not exposed to direct sunlight. Thus, the spaces in it are not too hot.

The intensity of sunlight received by the building skin needs to be anticipated. The effect of the morning sun nourishes the body and maximizes space to enter the room. On the other hand, the afternoon sun, which is more intense and has less effect, is made not to disturb the interior too much, so it is necessary to install sunscreen on the outside of the building.


The wind is the air that moves from areas of high pressure (cold) to areas of low pressure (heat).

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