A five-year project called Evaluation and Mitigation of Seismic Risk for Composite Masonry Buildings in Bhutan was implemented from April 1 to disseminate the seismic technology for disaster mitigation of the composite masonry buildings in the country.
The 2009 and 2011 earthquakes damaged many traditional buildings in the country. About 70 percent of the building stock in the country constitutes traditional buildings.
In 2009, earthquake affected 4,950 rural homes in Narang, Mongar. The 2011 earthquake affected 6,977 rural homes. According to National Statistics Bureau, 66 percent of households in the country live in traditional houses.
The project is worth USD 3.10 million.
Dawa Gyaltshen said that after the earthquakes the government became aware of the need to undertake scientific study on the performance of traditional buildings and how to improve them for better resilience against natural disasters.
“Bhutan being vulnerable to natural disasters, the safety and well-being of the people are of great concern to the nation,” he said.
Department of Culture instituted the Research Institute for Traditional Structures (RITS) to enable testing and research on the properties of traditional materials and construction techniques.
The project will, among others, execute static and dynamic tests for mock specimen buildings of composite masonry, which includes both rammed earth and stone masonry based on traditional Bhutanese building typology.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the examination facilities for the static and dynamic tests was held yesterday in Thimphu.
Her Majesty the Gyalyum Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck graced the salhang tendrel ceremony.
The facilities will include an examination facility with two strong floors and three reaction walls which can resist lateral pressure, two rammed earth, one stone masonry buildings on the sides connected to a quasi-static jack system, and two meter by two meter shaking table to conduct small scale dynamic tests.
Two mud-rammed and a stone buildings will be built later on the same experimental space based for tests.
The examination facility will later be an extension of RITS.
The project under the scheme of Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) is implemented by Department of Disaster Management, Department of Culture, Department of Geology and Mines, and Department of Engineering Services in collaboration with Nagoya City University, National Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience (NIED), Kyoto University, Nihon University, Kagawa University and Tohoku University.