Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Today man schools are having fire and earthquake drills. The siren has been going off at my school for a good ten minutes and the only students outside are a PE class that was already out on the soccer field.

It does not really matter anyway, the fucking school will probably come down like a deck of cards if there ever was a reasonably strong earthquake. In the area I work in they have been building like crazy, or more accurately crazily building. Back in America when we built buildings, we had certain standards for safety that are not even close to following here.

For a large building to survive an Earthquake you need a good foundation, with several feet of hard compacted gravel for it to sit on, and large footings to keep the damn thing from tipping over in an earthquake. They just build these things straight on top of mud. There is no compacting, there is no ground prep, they just pour the concrete right on top of the bare earth. The footings are tiny, and would not be acceptable for a 2 story house in the states. Anyone who has ever played in mud knows that when you start to vibrate, or shake it, it liquefies. That is not a good thing to build straight on top of.

You also need strong, straight support columns, to hold up the floors above you, and large deep pilings to keep the building from shaking off the foundation. But then again that costs money. These things are going to snap like twigs if this building ever shakes and the six floors above me are going to come straight down on top of me. Standing in a doorway, or under my desk wont stop several hundred tons of concrete from crushing the life out of me. Consider this a 3X3X3 foot (roughly one meter) cube of concrete weighs around 4,800lbs or around 2400kg for the rest of the world. I can guarantee that unless you are on the top floor of your building, there is more than that above your head.

Not only that, my school is already showing stress cracks in all the hallways, and sloping in the classrooms. They fill in the cracks with caulk every once in a while, but they keep growing. I know that if my school ever gets hit with a big earthquake this thing is just going to crumble.

1 comment:

  1. Just so you know, I linked to your post (in relation to your take on Korean building standards) on my blog today.

    I agree, the building standards in Asia are abysmal. They also rank the worst of the OECD countries for worker safety standards.